X Close

Open@UCL Blog

Home

Menu

Archive for the 'Open Access Week 2022' Category

Open peer review: what is it and what is UCL Press doing?

Kirsty28 October 2022

Guest post from Ian Caswell, UCL Press Journals Manager.

When discussing peer review, generally, I find it helpful to remind myself of some of the values as to perhaps why researchers publish in scholarly journals. In essence, it usually comes down to these 4 headings.

  1. Knowledge and discovery
  2. Evaluation and validation
  3. Credit
  4. Access to research

Within this environment, peer review is arguably the fundamental gold standard aspect of scholarly and academic publishing and is, at least in its most fundamental use of it, the facilitator for publishers to sell journals and its content.

So then, what is the role for peer review precisely, and what does it serve to accomplish?

An easy question to answer, right? In the book Editorial peer review: It’s strengths and weaknesses, the author writes the role of what peer review serves is, as ‘the goal of the process is to ensure that the valid article is accepted, the messy article cleaned up, and the invalid article rejected,’ thereby ensuring that the article made available to the reader is quality controlled.

In another book titled Peer review: A critical inquiry, the author here writes that the process of peer review also benefits the author, as they are later certified by the process if published proceeding peer review: “Careers are often made or destroyed by the process.”

In scholarly publishing, peer review acts to validate and assess work and is the current system used to assess the quality of a manuscript before it is published. Other experts in the relevant field assesses the research or article for things like fact, validity, and significance, that aid the assessors (i.e. Editors) to determine whether the manuscript should be published in the journal or not. I think it is pertinent to remember here that journals do play a vital role in the scientific and scholarly process, by refining research through peer review and disseminating it to appropriate communities by publication, and it is this role of review by peers that has been a part of scholarly communication since the appearance of the first journal in the 17th Century (see the brilliant book by Professor Aileen Fyfe et al, A History of Scientific Journals: Publishing at the Royal Society, 1665-2015.)

Challenges in peer-review

There has been a lot of discussion around the challenges peer review present, stemming from bias and prejudices towards authors, fraudulent behaviour, non-expertise reviews, and so on. In the article Peer review in a changing world: An international study measuring the attitudes of researchers by Mulligan et al in 2012, notes that:

“Although alternative forms of peer review have evolved to tackle issues of bias, it is less clear what effect, if any, they will have upon fraud. High‐profile cases of fraud and plagiarism have brought the debate about the efficacy of peer review to a wider audience, attracting greater public attention. Such incidences include [certain individuals], tipped to be a Nobel Prize winner, who published a series of fraudulent papers that were withdrawn from NatureSciencePhysical Review, and Applied Physics Letters.”

Journals typically tackle these types of concerns by anonymising authors and reviewers from each other to ‘enable a fairer and just review system’. In this article Mulligan et al surveyed around 40,000 published researchers that were randomly selected from the Web of Science (then known as the Thomson Reuters ISI list) and concluded that the majority of respondents were happy with the current system, but noted the system is imperfect and more can be done to ensure a higher level of efficacy and efficiency.

Now, being led by open science principles, it is largely seen that being more open and transparent with research publication and assessment can we increase scholarly rigor, accountability and trust.

What is open peer-review?

There is a growing evidence base of the challenges and flaws in the current anonymised peer review system (albeit, mainly within the biomedical and clinical sciences), and major publishers and journals are already testing open peer review processes (or have already implemented a practice of it already).

In April 2017, a systematic review of what open peer review is was published online in F1000Research (itself an innovative model of open peer review). It concluded: “Open peer review has neither a standardized definition, nor an agreed schema of its features and implementations. The literature reflects this, with a myriad of overlapping and often contradictory definitions.”

What this review very accurately depicts, is that there are a number of definitions of open peer review that can be collated together into themes and it purports there are 7 open traits to what open peer review concerns itself with, and that open peer review can take either a single aspect, or a multitude or mix of any of these traits, to operate as an open peer review model. Briefly, these are:

  1. Open identities, where authors and reviewers are aware of each other’s identity.
  2. Open reports, where the review reports are published alongside the relevant article
  3. Open participation, where the wider community are able to contribute to the review process
  4. Open interaction, where direct reciprocal discussion between author(s) and reviewers, and between the reviewers themselves, is allowed and encouraged
  5. Open pre-review manuscripts, essentially, a pre-print server, where manuscripts are made immediately available (e.g., BiorXiv) in advance of any formal peer review procedures
  6. Open final-version commenting, where the review or commenting on the final “version of record” is published
  7. Open platforms (or “decoupled review”), where review is facilitated by a different organizational entity than the venue of publication

What is UCL Press doing?

At UCL Press, we launched our very own open peer review and open science journal called UCL Open Environment: a fully non-commercial, Open Science journal, publishing high impact, multi-disciplinary research, on real world environmental issues, with the overall aim of benefitting humanity. The journal is for any researcher or professional at knowledge-based universities, institutions, and organisations (including Non-Government Organisations, Think Tanks, Inter-Government Organisations, and the United Nations) and submissions are invited from those at all career stages, including early career researchers, mid-career professionals, and senior scholars. There are also no barriers to the Open Peer Review Process (whereby the identity of the reviewer and the report are made publicly visibly at all times); engagement from all will advance the greatest leaps and discoveries.

Reviewers are firstly asked to sign in to the system using their ORCID account and when they submit their review report, the report is posted up online in the preprint server alongside the article, under the CC-BY licence and assigned a unique DOI. You can find out more information about this at https://ucl-about.scienceopen.com/for-reviewers/peer-review-process.

Reviewers can therefore attain credit of their report and readers are able to follow the process openly online. We hope this will also aid the development for others (especially earlier career researchers and students) with examples on how a review is written and how an article is revised accordingly, aiming to improve the way we should engage critically and beneficially with research.

Readers of this blog can see for themselves how the journal works (you can see here the list of the latest submissions and open peer reviews, as well as here for publications accepted after peer review). It is my hope that readers will be encouraged to provide more open peer reviews or open comments, adding to the corpus of open debate around research, and consider contributing to UCL Open Environment, as we believe that by removing barriers and innovatively working openly and together will we accelerate finding solutions to the world’s most significant challenges.

Indigenous knowledge and Citizen Science: enabling paths for Climate Justice

Kirsty27 October 2022

Post by Harry Ortiz, Office for Open Science & Scholarship Support Officer

This year’s Open Access theme, Climate Justice, allows us to explore how research openness can promote diverse paths to achieve it. In this particular occasion, we will focus on how citizen science can work as a bridge to connect the so-called modern societies with rich indigenous environmental knowledge to confront the climate emergency and learn from their day-to-day practices.

According to the United Nations (UN), climate justice refers to a paradigm shift that focuses on the impacts of global warming on the most vulnerable people rather than just discussions on gas emissions. Expanding the discourses based on natural resources and biodiversity depletion to more ethical and political spheres under the human rights framework and civil movements from those communities who are, and will be, the most affected by those changes (Unite Nations, 2019).

CC-BY-NC Picture by Joe Brusky https://flic.kr/p/pkVrKZ

Paradoxically, indigenous communities, who have been the protectors of the land through sacred ties with nature, are one of the most affected groups confronting climate change hazards. Receiving special attention due to their leader’s climate justice activism based on their traditional knowledge, demanding urgent policy transformations and more comprehensive mitigation plans (United Nations, 2021). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognise the crucial role of indigenous peoples’ knowledge in those plans, especially regarding ecosystem and biodiversity conservation as key to ensuring sustainable development and climate resilience (IPCC, 2022).

As climate justice movements note, the effects of the planetary phenomena affect vulnerable communities worst and faster. Not only about social and economic extents but their ‘abilities to produce, disseminate, and use knowledge around the climate crisis’ (International Science Council, 2022). This a critical reality for indigenous and local knowledge reproduction, which might contain the answers to new forms of human existence in symbiosis with all forms of life on earth.

Openness can help to share that traditional knowledge and inform novel paths to generate resilient modern societies. However, it is first necessary to understand and capture the indigenous and local expertise, where citizen science practice, one of the eight pillars of open science, takes enormous relevance for climate justice.

But how can scientific methodologies and indigenous/local knowledge coexist when they belong to completely different epistemologies? How do we avoid new ways of colonisation against indigenous peoples in the name of science and climate justice?

Citizen science offers a solution, a link between the two distant worlds. With ethical considerations carefully implemented, it can deliver new knowledge collaborations and approaches to solve local and global sustainability issues. Citizen science aloud reciprocally valuable knowledge systems to coexist, open discussions about power dynamics in the academic world, promote diversity, participation in decision making and address historical inequalities (Tengö, M. et al. 2021).

The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IGWIA), answering the IPCC 2022 report on mitigation, indicate the need for ‘a new paradigm of climate partnership with Indigenous Peoples that harnesses the benefits of different knowledge systems and ways of knowing is needed. Although the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge holders in research is increasing, more significant efforts are needed to support community-based and Indigenous-led research.’ (IGWIA, 2022). Addressing the need to respect indigenous peoples’ rights in the knowledge co-production development and their participation in all levels of climate mitigation decisions in ethical and equitable processes.

The UCL press book’ Geographic Citizen Science Design – No one left behind’ shows good examples of citizen science with indigenous communities who take into account cultural factors, participant-centre design and the local contexts from holistic perspectives. We encourage you to visit their third chapter, where the authors build from an anthropological and human-computer design perspective providing several case studies regarding geographic citizen science with indigenous communities and their knowledge. You can download the Open Access PDF for free!

Despite diverse opinions and perspectives, citizen science practices can hybridise two knowledge traditions that seemed to run in parallel paths. Sharing those findings in open and accessible ways beyond academia can promote more fair, equitable and sustainable societies.

Can you imagine new ways to co-existence with all the living world informed by indigenous knowledge and practices? Following Tyson Yunkaporta’s ideas in his book Sand Talk, what if indigenous knowledge can save the world? For some, the idea might sound romantic or taken out of science fiction movies. But what if finding an encounter point between the modern and the indigenous world is the most effective path towards climate justice?


International Science Council, 2022. 2022 International Open Access Week will focus on ‘Open for Climate Justice’. [online] Available from: https://council.science/current/news/2022-international-open-access-week-will-focus-on-open-for-climate-justice/ [Accessed 06 October 2022]

IGWIA, 2022. A new paradigm of climate partnership with Indigenous Peoples. An analysis of the recognition of Indigenous Peoples in the IPCC report on mitigation. IGWIA Briefing Paper. Available from: https://iwgia.org/en/resources/publications/4845-iwgia-briefing-analysing-a-new-paradigm-of-climate-partnership-with-indigenous-peoples-ipcc-report.html

IPCC, 2022. Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Working Group III Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Summary for Policymakers. WMO – UNEP. Available from: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGIII_SPM.pdf

Tengö, M., Austin, B.J., Danielsen, F., Fernández-Llamazares, A. 2021. Creating Synergies between Citizen Science and Indigenous and Local Knowledge. BioScience, 2021; biab023, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biab023

United Nations, 31 May 2019. Climate Justice. Goal 13: Climate Action. [online] Available from: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/climate-justice/ [Accessed 04 October 2022]

United Nations, 09 August 2021. How indigenous knowledge can help prevent environmental crises. Environmental Rights and Governance. [online] Available from: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/how-indigenous-knowledge-can-help-prevent-environmental-crises [Accessed 04 October 2022]

What is Open Access?: new video for UCL researchers

Kirsty26 October 2022

This Open Access Week, we’re delighted to be launching a new video designed to help new UCL staff and students understand some of the key ideas in open access. With so many different open access routes, including fully OA, transformative agreements and Green, and myriad open access policies – including UKRI, Wellcome, NIHR, CRUK, Horizon Europe/ERC and REF – unfortunately open access is often more complex than we would like. We cover all the detail on our webpages, but we’re hoping that this short video, the first of a pair, will be a helpful introduction for new UCL staff and early career researchers, and a handy reference for other researchers. In just two-and-a-half minutes, it covers:

  1. What open access is and why it is important
  2. Green/Gold open access
  3. Fully open access/hybrid journals
  4. Transformative agreements

The eagle-eyed will spot a small spoiler about a second video, which will explain what UCL authors need to do about open access. We’re working on that now, and it should be available in the next few months.

Departments may like to add links to our videos to their induction materials. Here are the videos available at the moment:

  • What is Open Access?
  • What is RPS?, Claiming and adding publication in RPS, Uploading a manuscript to RPS

We hope you enjoy these new resources.

Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter – Issue 7

Kirsty25 October 2022

Welcome to the seventh issue of the Open Science and Scholarship Newsletter!

This termly newsletter has updates across the 8 Pillars of Open Science, and contributions from colleagues across the university. If you would like to get involved, give feedback or write something for a future issue, please get in touch using the details at the end of the newsletter.

In this issue:

  • Editorial
  • Update from the Head of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship
  • Community voice – Semantic Open Data Science Platforms for Advanced Materials Discovery
  • Special Feature – UCL and the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN)
  • Deep Dive – Highlights from the Blog
  • News and Events

Go to the newsletter on Sway, or view it below. If you use the version below, we recommend clicking the ‘full screen’ button to get the full experience!

When viewing a Sway, you can turn on Accessibility view. This view displays a high-contrast style for easier reading, disables any animations, and supports keyboard navigation for use with screen readers.

To turn on Accessibility view:

  • If you’re using a mouse or touchscreen, on the More options menu (shown as three dots on the Sway toolbar), choose Accessibility view.
  • If you’re using a screen reader, on the More options menu, when Accessibility view is selected, you hear “Displays this Sway in a high contrast design with full keyboard functionality and screen reader access to all content.”

Welcome to Open Access Week – Review of the year 2021-22

Kirsty24 October 2022

Another year has passed and another Open Access Week is upon us! Since the foundation of the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship, it has become traditional for us to start Open Access week with a review of the last year.

It has been a busy year in the Office and in all of the teams that support Open in various guises across the university. Instead of a dull report from me about facts and figures, the LCCOS communications team have created a fun, snappy video with all the highlights!

In the past year UCL Press has released numerous new books, and their e-textbooks project is coming on in leaps and bounds. The team at the office have released new resources, and the Open Access team has a huge range of new Transformative deals as well as video content in the pipeline to help simplify the complicated world of Open Access for you – one is even coming out later this week!

We hope you enjoy Open Access week – and here’s to another great year!

Open Access Week is coming!

Kirsty6 October 2022

International Open Access week - text on a white background, with an orange padlock to the left. We’re getting excited again for the upcoming Open Access Week!

We have our usual range of blog posts lined up for you to enjoy, including an exciting roundup of the last year, our latest newsletter and a post on this year’s OA Week theme – Open for Climate Justice.

If that wasn’t enough, we have an online event for our ERC academics and a brand-new resource being released, so watch this space!

Featured event: Open Access for Horizon & ERC Researchers

Are you a UCL researcher whose publications acknowledge EU grants? Then you need to know about the new Horizon Europe and ERC open access requirements.

Register now for our online Open Access Week Horizon Briefing, on Monday 24 October, 13:00-13:50.

This session will set out the relevant open access policies, and explain where you can publish and what funding is available. We’ll also be joined by colleagues from F1000, to show you the Open Research Europe platform, which offers rapid publishing, open peer-review and compliance with the Horizon open access and open data policies.