Issue 6


In the UK, the government has published two reports on open research data policy. The first report is by the Open Research Data Task Force, and it argues for open access publishing and publishing of open data according to the FAIR principles. In the second report, Adam Tickell, Chair of the Universities UK Open Access Co-ordination Group, does promote the same ideas but also raises concerns about financial support for open access publishing. He calls for a “UK-wide policy ambition for Open Access for the next five years, with a focus on achieving open access as the default publication option, delivering financial sustainability for research performing organisations, and value for money on public investment in research.”

If Software Is Funded from a Public Source, Its Code Should Be Open Source.” In the Linux Journal


Full-text HTML is rolling out at bioRxiv across the entire site. This is great news towards the usability of posted papers, and it will improve indexing of preprints. This also also expands the service provided by preprint servers, and goes further towards a scenario where peer review and quality safeguards are or will be the main value added by scientific journal publishing.

The notion of using blockchain technology in scientific publishing may receive eye-rolls given its connection to cryptocurrencies. However, in a situation where the peer review process is opened up further between journals and publishers, or where scientific papers are syndicated online more widely, an intrinsic verification mechanism that is able to certify the integrity of a research output, along with an indisputable time-stamp, could be important. As explained in more detail in this Nature feature, blockchains or similar technology might provide an answer to this, albeit with caveats. 

How the global scholarly publishing community can help with access to research in the Global South: INASP has published a position paper by Sara Gwynn, but see also Siân Harris’ blog post in The Scholarly Kitchen. Giving researchers from the Global South a better platform is a key message: “Don’t just ask people from low- and middle-income countries to speak about the challenges they face in being from a low- or middle-income country. Also invite them to speak about their research specialism or their vision for open access or whatever their interests and expertise are. Help ensure full participation in all the discussions about the direction of the sector going forward.” Hear hear!


A key patent for the CRISPR gene editing technology will be granted to the University of California, ending a long-standing dispute with the Broad Institute.

The Center for Open Science is participating in a DARPA program to assess whether machines can determine the credibility of research claims in the social and behavioral sciences (SBS) —Systematizing Confidence in Open Research and Evidence (SCORE). Aim is to “develop and deploy automated tools to assign ‘confidence scores’ to different SBS research results and claims. Confidence scores are quantitative measures that should enable a DoD consumer of SBS research to understand the degree to which a particular claim or result is likely to be reproducible or replicable.”

Last week's updates from a changing planet: the past five years have been the hottest in modern records, Antarctica's glaciers continue to melt, in some instances with high speed, whilst scientists are getting better at predicting the impact on sea levels and global climate. Unrelated, Earth's magnetic north pole continues to shift.   


The inaugural meeting of the UK Network of Open Science Working Groups is on 11 April 2019 at Aston University, UK.

The European University Association is running a workshop on Research Assessment in the Transition to Open Science, 14 May 2019 in Brussels.

The CODATA 2019 conference is taking place on 18–19 September 2019 in Beijing, China. 


Plant-based alternatives to meat are increasingly making inroads, and do have a lesser environmental impact than livestock. They taste pretty good, too. Two of the major players have now released upgraded products in that market. Meet plant-based meat 2.0.

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Joerg Heber