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103rd Helmholtz Open Science Newsletter

Issue of April 10, 2024

1. CoARA: National Chapter Germany

After the first working groups of the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) began their work in autumn 2023, national chapters have now been founded in 15 countries. The German CoARA member organizations came together on March 5, 2024 at the invitation of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the inaugural meeting of their National Chapter. The National Chapter provides a forum for the discussion of Germany-related topics of research assessment and its reform and provides practical support to its members in their reform efforts; non-members will also be given the opportunity to participate in these discussions. Any institution from Germany that is eligible to join CoARA is welcome to participate in the National Chapter as an "Associate Member", even without CoARA membership. Currently, 23 of the 27 German CoARA member organizations are represented in the National Chapter (further information). From the Helmholtz Association, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) is represented in the German National Chapter of CoARA. The Helmholtz Open Science Office supports the MDC in fulfilling its mandate.

2. WIKOOP-INFRA: Cooperating Confidently with China

The project WIKOOP-INFRA, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), involving the Helmholtz Center Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), was successfully concluded on February 29, 2024 after a duration of two and a half years. The project - with its acronym signifying "Ensuring Safe, Transparent and Mutually Beneficial Collaboration with China at Analytical Research Infrastructures" - is one of the first projects in Germany to address the issue of research security. A key insight of the project is that future international cooperation with China may entail increased risks of misuse; therefore, alongside improved cooperation management, there must be an increased willingness to engage in discussions with Chinese partner institutions and a clear definition of one's own interests. Instead of relying solely on legal restrictions, cooperation management from the German side should be more knowledgeable, dialogue-oriented, and actively encourage an ethos of open science within the scientific community. The results of the project are available on the project homepage at https://www.wikoop-infra.de/.

3. Scenarios for Scholar-Led Publishing

Scientific publications are the object of commercial interests. The research community itself, on the other hand, has a primary interest in documenting and disseminating the results of scientific work through publications. Scholar-led publishing channels, often referred to as Diamond Open Access, focus on the autonomy of the research community. The Task Group Open Access Transformation of the Helmholtz Working Groups Open Science and Library and Information Management is working intensively on the topic of scholar-led publishing. A paper entitled “Scholarly Publishing at Helmholtz: Status Quo, Scenarios for Scholar-Led Publishing - A Discussion Paper” summarizes the current status. In line with this, an opinion article on the Helmholtz website asks about sustainable perspectives for “Open Access as the standard in science”.

4. Support for Open Research Practices: Springer Nature Announces Unified Open Code Policy

In February 2024, Springer Nature issued a press release announcing the validity of an Open Code Policy for its journal and book publications. The new policy complements the publisher's Single Data Policy. From now on, Springer Nature publications are to contain information on the code relevant to the publication and its accessibility in a code availability section. Authors will be encouraged, but not obliged, to publish the code used with permanent identifiers in relevant repositories. The actual implementation of the new policy will take place in stages, as the publisher's publication platform software will have to be adapted accordingly.

5. Report on Helmholtz Open Science Forum on Open Science and Transfer Published

As already reported in the 102nd newsletter, the second virtual Helmholtz Open Science Forum on Open Science and Transfer took place on January 22, 2024. The event offered participants many exciting insights into current projects and initiatives relating to transfer to society, business, and industry as well as Helmholtz initiatives for citizen participation in research projects (Citizen Science) and the successful practical implementation of open hardware projects. The slides of the presentations have now been published here as part of the documentation of the event.

6. Helmholtz Research Software Directory and Fifth Helmholtz Open Science Forum on Research Software

Research software is a pillar of the Helmholtz Open Science Policy. Research software developed and maintained with the participation of the Helmholtz Association is listed in the Helmholtz Research Software Directory. The directory provides an overview of software projects. Most of the code itself is stored in the Helmholtz Code Base in GitLab. Since 2023, the Helmholtz Code Base is regularly harvested by the Software Heritage Archive to permanently secure the code. The networking of the Helmholtz research software community is supported by Open Science Forums on research software, which the Helmholtz Open Science Office has been organizing in cooperation with Task Group Research Software since 2021. The fifth forum in this series took place in February 2024 in Leipzig at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. The report on this forum was published in March 2024. One focus of the program was on the concept of Open Software Program Offices.

7. Helmholtz Open Science Online Seminar on Science Tracking

The 68th Helmholtz Open Science Online Seminar took place on February 8, 2024. Bernhard Mittermaier, Head of the Central Library of Forschungszentrum Jülich, spoke on the topic of "Science Tracking" and addressed issues arising from the current practices of large publishing houses with regard to their collection and use of data. These publishing houses increasingly track the usage behavior of their readership, mostly researchers. By gathering ever more diverse tools for scientific work within their publishing ecosystems, these companies are accumulating further usage data. The resulting one-sided potential for data analysis, data aggregation, and information retrieval on the part of publishers raises various questions with regard to aspects of data protection, but also the sovereignty of science; not least in the context of the current DEAL contracts.

Besides providing general information on the topic, the aim of the online seminar was also to give scientists practical tips on how to deal with publishers: In addition to the selection of suitable (CC) licenses, the role of technical cookies or the relevance of the respective data protection regulations of the publishers were pointed out. In particular, it was emphasized that publishers must provide information on the “legitimate interest”, often used as justification for the collection of usage data and its subsequent use. Similarly, information on the duration and location of data storage and the type of data stored must be provided on request. If publishers do not comply with these obligations to provide information, the possibility of filing a complaint with the local data protection authority was outlined as a possible course of action. Librarians were also encouraged to support researchers in the practical implementation of this advice and to contribute with their expertise on information science.

The documentation of the online seminar can be found on the event page.

8. FAIR for Research Software: Overview

The blog post "The FAIR for Research Software Principles after two years: an adoption update" provides a comprehensive overview of activities relating to research software. The article considers current policy approaches, incentives, training concepts, and supporting infrastructures that are advancing FAIR for research software.

9. Project Launched: Data Practice for Shaping the Open Access Transformation - Analysis, Recommendation, Training & Networking

The project Data Practice for Shaping the Open Access Transformation - Analysis, Recommendation, Training & Networking (OA Data Practice), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), supports the development of structures for Open Access (OA) transformation at national level. The focus is on promoting and establishing processes and procedures for sovereign data practice in shaping the OA transformation in interaction with international developments. The project supports practitioners at scientific institutions in the professionalization of their data practices by promoting the organization, networking, and standardization of the respective processes through a coordinated approach. The project will (1) improve the data-based management of OA transformation; (2) strengthen cooperation in the data practice of OA transformation; (3) develop standards for collaborative data practice for OA transformation; (4) minimize dependence on data sources that are in commercial hands, and (5) improve information services on data practice. The Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Göttingen State and University Library, and the Helmholtz Open Science Office of the Helmholtz Association are involved in OA Data Practice. The project proposal has been published here: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10794298.

10. Transform2Open: Reports on Publication Cost Monitoring and Reference Model for Information Budgets Published

A workshop of the DFG-funded project Transform2Open "Cost Monitoring - Problem Areas and Needs for Action" (in German) took place online in May 2023; the report "Publication Cost Monitoring: Current Status and Challenges of Publication Cost Monitoring at German Academic Institutions" (in German) has now been published. The report brings together the technical and organizational requirements for this topic in the institutions as presented by the 226 workshop participants; and the report further identifies problem areas and needs for action. The findings from the workshop have been supplemented by the evaluation of a targeted survey of open access experts from eight representatively selected academic institutions. The experiences from the monitoring of the DFG funding program "Open Access Publication Costs" round off the survey concerning the status of publication cost monitoring procedures at German academic institutions. Building on this report, a handout for decision-makers at scientific institutions with specific and operationalizable recommendations for the design of institutional cost monitoring processes is planned for 2025. In preparation for this publication, the project is inviting feedback: whether general feedback on the monitoring of publication costs or suggestions for improvement on individual aspects of cost monitoring, please send your ideas and suggestions to: feedback.transform2open@listserv.dfn.de.

A further workshop of Transform2Open, "First Steps Towards a Reference Model for the Information Budget", in September 2023, focused on the development of a reference model for the information budget to accompany challenges in the financing of information provision and production, thus both reading and publishing. The report (in German) that has now been published outlines initial discussions on the implementation of a reference model for the information budget, experiences with virtual and integrated/real budgets, and strategies for sustainability and transparency; the report thus marks a further development in promoting ongoing collaborative efforts. Further participatory formats are being planned to ensure that discussions and progress in this important area can be continued collectively.

11. Practical Insights at the open-access.network Workshop: Recording Publication Costs and Making Them Visible

The series of online workshops organized by the Bielefeld University Library and the Helmholtz Open Science Office as part of the BMBF project open-access.network on the topic of "Financial design of the open access transformation at universities and scientific institutions" was continued in February 2024 with the workshop "First steps towards an information budget: recording publication costs and making them visible" (in German).

The public event was aimed at interested persons from scientific institutions and universities. In several presentations, insights were given into two different practical approaches to recording publication costs at the university libraries in Regensburg and Münster. In addition, a practical example of recording and reusing cost data in the repository of the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY was presented. With the help of the metadata schema developed in the openCost project, cost data can be reused, e.g., for transparent cost reporting with OpenAPC, which was also presented in a lecture. The more than 180 participants at the workshop were able to share and discuss their own experiences in recording publication costs.

The presentation slides of the workshop were published open access and are linked on the event webpage.

12. CERN Hosts DOAB and OAPEN Library

The European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN has announced that it will host the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and the OAPEN Library directly in its data center. This partnership to support the infrastructure for open access books is made possible by an extension of the existing cooperation agreement between CERN and the OAPEN Foundation as operator of the DOAB and the OAPEN Library. This was preceded by a cooperation between the two institutions as part of the SCOAP³ for Books initiative, which enables physics books to be used worldwide in open access. The OAPEN Library makes more than 30,000 books from many scientific disciplines available in open access.

13. Retrospective: Report on Forum Digital Research Ecosystems Published

The recently held event Helmholtz Open Science Forum “Towards Open Digital Research Ecosystems - Interconnection Infrastructures” highlighted the importance of various approaches in creating networked infrastructures with different levels of complexity. It was evident that certain basic requirements need to be met for the successful implementation of such infrastructures. Various Helmholtz Centers are developing specific approaches to address the challenges of open and interconnected infrastructures. Platforms like HIFIS and Helmholtz Imaging serve as links to support these developments. Moreover, Persistent identifiers (PIDs) were identified as a crucial element in many projects, enabling the unique and permanent location of resources. Standardization through metadata and metadata schemas, as well as the use of common terminologies and ontologies, play a central role in linking information systems and overcoming the obstacles presented by information silos.

The event emphasized the need for open-source systems to facilitate the automatic exchange of information between infrastructures. Additionally, suitable governance models must be developed and applied to ensure the effective functioning of these interconnected systems. This forum served as a starting point to discuss and coordinate efforts within Helmholtz and beyond to advance the concept of interconnected digital research ecosystems. The documentation can be found here.

14. Exciting Insights into PIDs for Research Data as well as Publication Services and CRIS

In February and March 2024, the DFG-funded PID Network Germany project organized two exciting events on the topic of persistent identifiers (PIDs), which highlighted the areas of application of PIDs in research data in an online seminar and PIDs in current research information system (CRIS) in a hybrid workshop at Bielefeld University Library. Both events were met with great interest and attracted numerous participants who wanted to learn more about the importance and benefits of PIDs for the long-term identification and management of scientific information. The participants of the on-site workshop had the opportunity to discuss in small groups the challenges of PIDs in publication services and CRIS, e.g., which PIDs are already well established and what challenges arise in planned implementations. In particular, the handling of registrars (e.g., OpenDOAR, re3data) and aggregators (e.g., BASE) as well as the aspect of multiple allocation were discussed in more detail. The documentation of the presentations and the interactive parts will soon be published on the project website.

On May 07, 2024, the project invites you to the online seminar "PIDs for instruments". It offers a very good opportunity to learn more about the application of PIDs for instruments in the research context and to exchange ideas. Registration is possible here.

Save the Dates

  • 07. May 2024

    The project "PID Network Germany" cordially invites you to the online seminar "PIDs for instruments".

  • June 04 to 07, 2024, Hamburg

    The 112th BiblioCon will take place this year under the motto "open.local.global" from 04 to 07 June 2024 at the Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH) and is organized by Verein…

  • June 11 to 13, 2024, Prague (Czech Republic)

    The conference serves as an international summit of talks, activities and workshops focussing on the use, application and challenges of persistent…

  • September 10 to 12, 2024,  Cologne

    The Open Access Days are the central annual conference on Open Access and Open Science in the German-speaking area. They will take place from September 10 to 12,…

Recommended Reading

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (2024): Eckpunkte BMBF Forschungsdatengesetz. https://www.bmbf.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/de/2024/240306_eckpunktepapier-forschungsdaten.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=3

Cole, N. L., Kormann, E., Klebel, T., Apartis, S., & Ross-Hellauer, T. (2024). The societal impact of Open Science–a scoping review [Preprint]. SocArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/tqrwg

European Commission. Directorate General for Research and Innovation. (2024). Study on scientific publishing in Europe: development, diversity, and transparency of costs. Publications Office. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/89349

Jahn, N. (2024). How open are hybrid journals included in transformative agreements? [Preprint] arXiv. http://arxiv.org/abs/2402.18255

Klebel, T., & Traag, V. (2024). Introduction to causality in science studies [Preprint]. SocArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/4bw9e

Pampel, H., Schrader, A. C., Vierkant, P., Dreyer, B., Glagla‐Dietz, S., Schirrwagen, J., & Summann, F. (2024). Lessons learned from ORCID DE - A project‐driven initiative to promote author identification in Germany. Learned Publishing, 37(2), 117–124. https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1597

Ross-Hellauer, T., & Horbach, S. P. J. M. (2024). Additional experiments required: A scoping review of recent evidence on key aspects of Open Peer Review. Research Evaluation, rvae004. https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvae004

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