Arthur Healy: Building EFSA’s impact and reputation through scientific publishing

Arthur Healy heads up EFSA’s scientific publishing programme. He has worked in publishing for most of his career after studies in human nutrition and medicine at University College Cork. He has spearheaded the recent development of the EFSA Journal which has seen it blossom from a DIY publication on EFSA’s website to becoming one of the most accessed journals on Wiley Online Library since its launch there in mid-2016. EuroScientist caught up with him to better understand EFSA’s publishing programme.

Spain, the European exception: ‘economic miracle’ & scientific suicide

Six years ago, the Spanish parliament approved Law 14/2011, known as the Science Law, aiming to modernise and harmonise different aspects of scientific activity in Spain, by a virtually unanimous vote. Today, Spanish scientists are still waiting for the law to be fully implemented; more than three and half years after the deadline for implementation has passed.

In this article, the 5s6s Platform, a grassroots movement of Spanish scientists, including about 400 tenured scientists working in OPIs, supported by another >1300 scientists working in different Spanish Universities and other research institutions, denounces this untenable situation and requests that the Government finally implements the law.

Self-organised scientific crowds to remedy research bureaucracy

In an era where research bureaucracy is the biggest burden bestowed upon scientists, some are seeking practical solutions. Inspired by the science of complex networks, new ways of harnessing the wisdom of the scientific community are emerging. This leads to new decision-making mechanisms to allocated the limited amount of resources, which is bypassing the biggest plague affecting the research endeavour. Michele Catanzaro investigates out-of-the-box solutions to this bureaucratic conundrum for Euroscientist.

What funding agencies and journals can do to prevent sloppy science

In May 2017, the 5th World Conference on Research Integrity will take place in Amsterdam. It will provide an opportunity to discuss concrete actions that can be adopted by funding angencies and scientific journals to improve the overall quality and integrity of research. In this opinion piece, Lex Bouter, professor of methodology and integrity at VU University Medical Center in The Netherlands sets the scene for the conference.

Matters founder Lawrence Rajendran: the Lego approach to scientific publishing

In this interview with EuroScientist, Lawrence Rajendran explains why he created Matters, to change the way we communicate science. He has devised a new way of publishing science by submitting single observations to build the big Lego puzzle of science. He believes that the current way of presenting papers, based on storytelling, needs to be revisited as they tend to favour oversights of what could be perceived as negative results. He thinks this will to open science to allow greater multidisciplinary collaborations and to reach out to a wider audience, beyond the scientific community.

Raising the bar for national language open access journals

Latin America is a land of many opportunities. Particularly, in the field of publishing as open access encompass 25% of the research published there. This is due to the remarkable work of SciELO, which has provided a methodology and technological platform to make it possible for national open access journals to be federated across the region. Besides, it has contributed to make that research more easily discoverable via the likes of Google Scholar. Abel Packer tells the story of SciELO and his refreshing Latin American perspective of the world of publishing and his initiative contributes to further developing Open Science.

Data sharing shifts scientific culture

Reproducibility of research is at the heart of science. However, old habits die hard. And the custom of making all data fully available so that others can reproduce them is not yet fully ingrained in scientists’ modus operandi. Some likely changes that may encourage data sharing include the introduction of training modules on good sharing practice and the practice of crediting the author of the original data set used in new work. These could go a long way towards unlocking the reproducibility challenge.

How can we trust scientific publishers with our work if they won’t play fair?

I am angry. Very, very angry. Personally I have never liked how scientific publishers charge us to read the research that we produce, and that we review for them free of charge. But that is another debate for another day. What I really hate is how they abuse this power to stifle debate in the name of their business interests. This is now going to dramatically affect the quality of a paper into which I poured a huge amount of effort – a critique of the (lack of) evidence for striped nanoparticles.

Inflation on the price of knowledge: French universities boycott journals

How much is too much? For all the talk that the publishers of major journals such as Science, Nature and the Lancet are charging too much for their wares, it seems a limit has been reached. French universities, in particular, have had enough and are just saying “non!” and cancelling their journal subscriptions. Is this the wake-up call the big publishers need? Should other universities follow suit, researchers organise a wider boycott, or is there another way to make the journal oligarchs realise that enough is enough?

Making the long tail of scientific resources mainstream

Massive amounts of culturally and scientifically-rich content is now available. However, its potential use for educational and scientific purposes remains largely untapped. One reason can be seen in current web content dissemination mechanisms, which are dominated by a small number of large central hubs. In order to maintain their valuable services, those large hubs have to focus on commercially viable mainstream content. While cultural and scientific resources provide valuable and educational content they cannot be considered mainstream. Quite the contrary. Most of this can be considered as high-quality niche content for a rather small community and forms part of the so-called Long Tail.