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Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Dr. Maja Makovec Brenčič. By: Slovenian Press Agency. CC BY 4.0

30 ministers of education and 690 members of the open education community (140 of them virtual) from 111 nations convened in Ljubljana, Slovenia at the 2nd OER World Congress with the goal of mainstreaming open education to meet the education targets in the United Nations SDG4. In addition to the 3-day Congress program, there were 21 satellite sessions with presentations about artificial intelligence to copyright reform to regional OER networks. Creative Commons was excited to participate in sessions, give a keynote (text / video), help draft key documents, and meet with ministers and other open education leaders from around the world.

This Congress comes after six regional consultations attended by 257 participants from 105 countries, and five years after the 1st World OER Congress where UNESCO member states unanimously approved the 2012 Paris OER Declaration.

The theme of the Congress: “OER for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education: From Commitment to Action” – called for governments to take action. After extensive consultation with the global open education community, the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan (English / French) was unanimously adopted. The attending Ministers further supported this call to action with a Minsters Statement (English / French).

The 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan focuses on five areas for government action:

1. Building the capacity of users to find, re-use, create and share OER
2. Language and cultural issues
3. Ensuring inclusive and equitable access to quality OER
4. Developing sustainability models
5. Developing supportive policy environments

Congratulations to everyone who helped move the world to this moment! Now the hard work begins. Open education advocates, NGOs and IGOs need to help national governments and their ministries / departments of education to accomplish the “suggested actions” in each of these five areas.

Now is the time for governments to review their national and SDG4 education goals, and ask if their existing financial and procurement structures are optimized to mainstream open education. Now is the time for national governments to act:

The Creative Commons global network looks forward to working with our NGO and IGO partners to help governments realize the actions called for in the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan.

Let’s get to work.

Additional Resources:

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A government crackdown on Muslim-dominated abattoirs and the trade of cattle dragged down India’s exports of leather shoes by more than 13 percent in June, as leading global brands turned to China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan to secure supplies.

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Each year, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation recognizes research excellence with a set of three awards given for major advances in the “understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of human disease.” This year’s awards were given for Basic Medical Research, Clinical Medical Research and Public Service.

The Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award was given to Michael N. Hall for discovery of and investigations into “nutrient-activated TOR proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth.” TOR (Target of Rapamycin) is a highly conserved protein and a central regulator through its role as a nutrient sensor, coupling nutrient availability to protein synthesis and cell growth. A critical signaling protein, TOR forms multiprotein associations that function as distinct clusters, either as TORC1 (TOR Complex 1) or TORC2 (TOR Complex 2), depending upon those additional proteins. In their 2007 PLOS ONE article, Hall and colleagues identified novel TOR interacting proteins specific for each complex, investigating the role of phosphorylation and complex function for each. More recently, work from the Hall group published in PLOS Genetics demonstrated a role for TORC1 in bone formation and, in yeast cells, characterized the signaling state of the TORC1 complex with the use of antibody tools.

The Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award was jointly awarded to John Schiller and Douglas Lowy for their collaborative efforts, innovations and ”technological advances that enabled development of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer and other tumors caused by human papillomaviruses.” Papillomavirus infection on the skin and mucous membranes of humans and animals can cause benign warts (papillomas) or malignancies, especially anogenital carcinomas, and in genetically predisposed or immunocompromised individuals can cause skin cancer. Development of safe and effective vaccines has potential to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer and other malignancies resulting from HPV.

Schiller and Lowry collaborated on three articles published with PLOS. In the early days of PLOS Pathogens, they demonstrated that carrageenan, a sulfated polysaccharide extracted from red algae, was an extremely potent infection inhibitor for sexually transmitted genital HPVs. Their most recent joint publication (also in PLOS Pathogens) investigates papillomavirus in various mouse models, to gain insights into immune system influences on infection progression in humans. These articles, together with results of a clinical trial of bivalent HPV vaccination have received nearly 83,000 views. For further reading in PLOS journals, view Schiller’s  and Lowy’s publication lists.

The Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award alternates years with the Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science. For more on this year’s Public Service Award, given to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, check back next week for our interview with Chair of the Jury Alfred Sommer.

In publishing their work Open Access, these outstanding scientists and citizens advance medicine, public health and basic research for the benefit of all. PLOS celebrates their work and dedication.

 

Image Credit: Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

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Today Creative Commons published a policy analysis covering several copyright-related issues presented in the draft intellectual property chapter of EU-Mercosur free trade agreement. We examine issues that would be detrimental to the public domain, creativity and sharing, and user rights in the digital age. [The policy paper is also available in Spanish and Portuguese.] 

The European Union (EU) and the Latin American sub-regional bloc consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay (Mercosur) have been negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) since 2000. The EU-Mercosur FTA is expansive, addressing trade in industrial and agricultural goods, potential changes to rules governing small- and medium-sized businesses as well as government procurement, and intellectual property provisions such as copyrights and patents. The EU-Mercosur FTA negotiations continue during a time when several of the affected countries—including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and even the EU—are involved in a review of their own copyright rules.

Only a few chapters of the draft EU-Mercosur FTA have been made available for public inspection. In November 2016 the EU released a draft of the chapter dealing with intellectual property, which is the most recent publicly available version. Civil society organisations and the public are typically excluded from participating in—or even observing—the negotiation meetings.

The EU-Mercosur FTA negotiations take place in an environment where an increasing level of copyright policy is being constructed through multilateral trade agreements. There are several current negotiations underway, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Each of these agreements include provisions regulating intellectual property, and the recent negotiation of these trade pacts shows that when copyright is put on the table, there’s a significant push to drastically increase enforcement measures for rights holders, lengthen copyright terms, and demand harsh infringement penalties. While the demands of rights holders are fully addressed, there’s little consideration given to the rights of the public. Limitations and exceptions to copyright are downplayed, or not present at all. In the text we see the invisible (and powerful) hand of the EU, which wishes to export the intellectual property provisions most beneficial to rightsholders (such as harmonized longer terms), but only wants to permit the absolute minimum when it comes to limitations and exceptions (such as only temporary copying).

  • Copyright term extension is unnecessary and unwarranted: The draft IP chapter proposes to extend the duration of copyright protection for those countries that do not already adhere to the life + 70 year term. Increasing the duration of copyright protection delays works from entering the public domain, where they may be used by anyone for any purpose. It also exacerbates related challenges, such as the orphan works problem. 
  • User rights must be protected by expanding limitations and exceptions: Copyright protection and enforcement measures should always be tempered by recognizing and upholding the rights of users in the copyright ecosystem. But the IPR chapter doesn’t include similar safeguards introduced in the latest trade agreements and international copyright agreements that promote and protect balance in copyright agreements.
  • Mandatory remuneration frustrates the intentions of some Creative Commons licensors: The IPR chapter includes a provision that would require remuneration for performers and producers of musical works. The provision may be well-intended, but would interfere with the operation of some Creative Commons licenses by requiring a payment even when the intention of the author is to share her creative work with the world for free.
  • Technical protection measures must not limit the exercise of user rights: The IPR chapter includes prohibitions to circumventing technological protection measures to gain access to a work, as well as  a provision that would prohibit the creation and sharing of technologies that could enable a user to circumvent technological protection measures. The problem is that it doesn’t take into account situations where users should be able to leverage a limitation or exception, but cannot due to prohibitions on circumventing a technological measure.
  • Precautionary injunctions against “imminent” infringements harms freedom of expression and the rule of law: The IPR chapter introduces the idea that an injunction could be levied against both potential infringers and intermediaries (including ISPs) for “imminent” copyright infringements that have not yet occurred.
  • Trade agreement negotiations must be transparent and involve the public: Trade agreement negotiations need to be transparent and participatory. They are not. The secrecy demonstrated in the negotiation of the TPP and other FTAs left civil society organizations like Creative Commons and the broader public at an extreme disadvantage, as only a privileged few stakeholders invited into the closed negotiation circle had their interests fully considered.

Read our extended policy paper here. The text is also available in Spanish and Portuguese.

The post EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement Would Harm User Rights and the Commons appeared first on Creative Commons.

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The Free Software Foundation Europe and a broad group of organisations including Creative Commons are supporting the Public Money, Public Code campaign. The initiative calls for the adoption of policies that require that software paid for by the public be made broadly available as Free and Open Source Software. Nearly 40 organisations and over 6200 individuals have already supported this action by signing the open letter. You can sign it too.

We know that publicly funded educational materials and scientific research should be made available under open licenses for maximum access and reuse by everyone.

The same goes for the digital infrastructure of publicly-funded software. Unfortunately, governments around the world tend to procure mostly proprietary software, and the restrictive licenses that come with it limits our rights as citizens to use (and improve) these tools funded through the public purse and developed for the public good.

Make your voice heard today. The campaign organiser will deliver the signatures to European representatives who are debating software freedom in public administration.


Public Money? Public Code! from Free Software Foundation Europe on Vimeo.

The post Sign the Petition: Public Money Should Produce Public Code appeared first on Creative Commons.

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I tend to scribble a lot by Nic McPhee, CC BY-SA 2.0

In June we asked the European Parliament to redouble their efforts to make much-needed improvements to the EU copyright reform. We called on the Parliament to spearhead crucial changes that promote creativity and business opportunities, enable research and education, and protect user rights in the digital market.

Despite this strong ask, the direction of the copyright reform is getting worse, not better.

This week Creative Commons and major organisations from the library, research, education, and digital rights community sent a letter to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee calling on it to protect open access and open science in the context of the Commission’s draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Additional signatories are encouraged to join the letter

Of particular concern are two parts of the draft directive: Article 11 (press publisher’s right) and Article 13 (platform content filtering). We believe that these provisions will create burdensome and harmful restrictions on access to scientific research and data, as well as on the fundamental rights of freedom of information, directly contradicting the EU’s own ambitions in the field of Open Access and Open Science.

The press publisher’s right already poses a significant threat to an informed and literate society. Links to news and the use of titles, headlines and fragments of information could now become subject to licensing. The extension of this controversial proposal to cover academic publications, as proposed by the Parliament’s Research Committee, significantly worsens an already bad situation. This type of arrangement is unequivocally harmful to access to scientific and scholarly information—most of which has already been paid for from by the public funds, and whose raison d’être is to be read as widely as possible in order to contribute to the scientific enterprise. It flies in the face of open access publishing, whose authors have chosen to share their research outputs under permissive licenses for the benefit of all. And it directly conflicts with other provisions in the EU’s copyright reform meant to improve research processes and outcomes, such as the mandatory copyright exception for text and data mining.

Article 13 threatens the accessibility of scientific articles, publications and research data made available through over 1250 repositories that European non-profit institutions and academic communities. These repositories, which are essential for Open Access and Science in Europe, are likely to face significant additional operational costs associated with implementing new filtering technology and the legal costs of managing the risks of intermediary liability.

Both Articles 11 and 13 should be removed from the proposal.

Our letter also touches on other important issues such as the exception for text and data mining (Article 3) and the exception for educational purposes (Article 4). We ask the Legal Affairs Committee to improvement these and other Articles so they to provide better support for teaching, learning, and new forms of research.

You can read the full letter below.

Are you interested in receiving updates about our work copyright reform efforts from Creative Commons and our partners in policy? Sign up to our list. We’ll email you no more than once per month!


EU copyright reform threatens Open Access and Open Science

Open letter to the members of the Legal Affairs Committee in the European Parliament

We represent a large group of European academic, library, education, research and digital rights communities and we are writing to express our alarm at the draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, and in particular at the potential impact of Articles 11 and 13. We are concerned that these provisions will create burdensome and harmful restrictions on access to scientific research and data, as well as on the fundamental rights of freedom of information, directly contradicting the EU’s own ambitions in the field of Open Access and Open Science.

We therefore urge the Legal Affairs Committee to remove Articles 11 and 13 from the draft Directive. Furthermore, the Committee should ensure that Articles 3 to 9 support new forms of research and education and not work against them.

A U-turn on Open Science?

  1. We believe that increased digital access, data analytics and open information flows will increase innovation in Europe. The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme similarly supports open access to scientific publications and research data as essential drivers of EU global competitiveness. The EU has set an example internationally with its extensive policy work, for example by including Open Access in one of its six European Research Area (ERA) priorities. Moreover in 2016 at the Competitiveness Council, all of Europe’s ministers of science, innovation, trade and industry committed to Open Access to scientific publications as the default option for publicly funded research results by 2020. Open Science is increasingly accepted by governments and industry as a means not only to accelerate innovation, but also to ensure faster access to information for citizens.
  1. However, several proposed elements of Articles 11 and 13 will prevent the EU from realizing the significant potential of Open Access and Open Science to promote scientific discovery and progress, and may thereby reduce the impact of European research worldwide.

The Ancillary Right – Putting the brakes on knowledge-sharing and building walls around already open publications and data

  1. Article 11 already poses a significant threat to an informed and literate society. Links to news and the use of titles, headlines and fragments of information could now become subject to licensing. Terms could make the last two decades of news less accessible to researchers and the public, leading to a distortion of the public’s knowledge and memory of past events. Art. 11 would furthermore place EU law in contravention with the Berne Convention, whose Art. 2(8) excludes news of the day and ‘mere items of press information’ and ‘press summaries’ from protection.
  1. The extension of this controversial proposal to academic publications, as proposed by the ITRE Committee, significantly worsens an already bad situation. It would provide academic publishers additional legal tools to restrict access, going against the increasingly widely accepted practice of sharing research. This will limit the sharing of open access publications and data which currently are freely available for use and reuse in further scientific advances. If the proposed ancillary right is extended to academic publications, researchers, students and other users of scientific and scholarly journal articles could be forced to ask permission or pay fees to the publisher for including short quotations from a research paper in other scientific publications. This will seriously hamper the spread of knowledge. The proposed ancillary right further conflicts with the Berne Convention’s Article 10(1), which provides a mandatory exception for quotation, as well as posing risks to freedom of speech.
  1. Prior experiments with the press publishers’ right have also failed from an economic standpoint. No impact assessment has been carried out, no evidence produced, and no consultation conducted around the ramifications of extending Art. 11 to academic publishers.
  1. In addition, academic publishers usually acquire rights to the works they publish when signing contracts with their authors. Publishers already have all the rights they need, thus ancillary rights don’t make sense.

Filtering obligations – Undermining the foundations of Open Access

  1. The provisions of Article 13 threaten the accessibility of scientific articles, publications and research data made available through over 1250 repositories that European non-profit institutions and academic communities. These repositories, which are essential for Open Access and Science in Europe, are likely to face significant additional operational costs associated with implementing new filtering technology and the legal costs of managing the risks of intermediary liability. The additional administrative burdens of policing this content would add to these costs. Such repositories, run on a not-for-profit basis, are not equipped to take on such responsibilities, and may face closure. This would be a significant blow, creating new risks for implementing funder, research council and other EU Open Access policies.

Text and Data Mining – The risks to scientific values

  1. Regarding Article 3, we welcome amendments that expand the exception for text and data mining (TDM) to allow anyone, including SMEs and society in general, to mine works to which they have legal access, regardless of the purpose. Furthermore, Article 3 should direct Member States to set up a secure facility to ensure accessibility and verifiability of research made possible through TDM. Under no circumstances should data structured for mining purposes be deleted – this is fundamentally contrary to good scientific practice. Finally, the exception should be protected from being overridden by contract terms, and technological measures should be prohibited that interfere with the exercise of the exception. Both protections are essential for the exception to function.

Education, preservation and access – An enabling environment for Open Science

  1. Regarding Article 4, we believe that a robust exception to copyright for education should support broad access to and fair reuse of copyrighted content of all types in a variety of education settings, locally and across borders. The scope of the exception should cover digital and non-digital uses, including ‘scientific research’ purposes, alongside educational ones, and prevent rightholders from overriding the exception through contractual provisions or technological protection measures. Finally, the exception should not depend on compulsory remuneration.
  1. We also urge MEPs to take full account of the views of library and cultural heritage institutions regarding Articles 5-9 of the draft Directive, which aim at ensuring maximising the effective preservation of, and access to works for public interest, non-commercial purposes.

We therefore urge the Legal Affairs Committee to remove Articles 11 and 13 from the draft Directive. Furthermore, we ask for the improvement of Articles 3-9 in line with the suggestions put forward by library, educational, research and cultural heritage organisations throughout the parliamentary process to provide better support for teaching, learning, and new forms of research.

The signatories support a balanced copyright law that promotes open access to research articles, publications and data, thereby continuing to contribute to further strengthening Europe’s research outreach and innovative capacity for the benefit of Europe’s research industry, including SMEs and society.

Original signatories

CESAER – Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research
COAR – Confederation of Open Access Repositories
Commons Network
Communia Association
Creative Commons
C4C – Copyright for Creativity (C4C) Coalition
EBLIDA – European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation Associations
EIFL – Electronic Information for Libraries
EUA – European University Association
Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU
IFLA – International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
LIBER – Association of European Research Libraries
RLUK – Research Libraries UK
Science Europe
SPARC Europe

The post European Parliament Must Protect Scientific Research appeared first on Creative Commons.

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“Open is Welcoming” by Alan Levine, CC0

In early 2017, the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) completed a consultation process of renewing and reorganizing itself to support a strong and growing global movement. The year-long process resulted in the CCGN Global Network Strategy. Part of the new strategy is to establish defined areas of focus, or “platforms,” which will drive CC’s global activities. Platforms are how we organize areas of work for the CC community, where individuals and institutions organize and coordinate themselves across the CC Global Network.

In the spirit of openness and to effectively strategize, these platforms are open to all interested parties working in the platform area and adjacent spaces. That’s why Creative Commons invites you to join the CC Global Network Open Education Platform!

WHY join?

  • Stay connected to global actions in open education resources, practice, and policy.
  • Identify, plan and coordinate multi-national open education, practices and policy projects to collaboratively solve education challenges with an amazing group of open education leaders from around the world.
  • Secure funding (from Creative Commons and other funding sources) for the open education projects we collectively select.
  • Contribute to global perspectives on open education to strengthen advocacy worldwide.
  • Connect your country / region to global open education initiatives.
  • Be on the forefront in implementing Creative Commons’ global network strategy.
  • Meet annually, in-person, at the Creative Commons Summit with members of the CC Open Education Platform to celebrate successes, share best practices, and plan for the next year.
  • Explore, practice, and share innovative methods for inclusive and open engagement with educators, learners and governments around the world..

WHO should join?

  • Open education advocates working in the areas of open educational resources, open educational practices, and/or open education policy.

WHAT are we working on right now?

  • Reaching the right people (you!) to build a strong open education platform.
  • Developing decision making and engagement structures.
  • Defining the goals and projects the CC Open Education Platform will pursue.

Joining the CC Open Education Platform is easy and free:

  • Review and contribute to the platform draft working doc.
  • Attend and participate in the monthly meetings.
    • The next meeting is October 18: 8:00pm / October 19: 9:00am (PDT, UTC -7).
    • Note: every meeting has two different times – so everyone can attend one of the meetings during local daylight hours.

Please join the e-mail list and IM channel, introduce yourself, and we’ll see you at the next meeting!

The post Invitation to Join: CC Open Education Platform appeared first on Creative Commons.

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“Once a system is running a certain way it’s hard to change course.”—Richard Harris, award-winning science correspondent for National Public Radio

Scientists, publishers, journalists and the public talk of the problem of reproducibility in experimental science. There are committees, symposia, peer-reviewed articles, blogs and opinion pieces documenting the issue and exploring remedies to the challenge of reproducibility. NPR science correspondent Richard Harris takes this societal challenge one step further in his book with a title that in no uncertain terms calls attention to the root cause of the reproducibility challenge—Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope and Wastes Billions.

PLOS interviewed Harris about the lack of rigor in experimental research that he describes in his book, and from a discussion that covered materials standards, publishing fewer papers with greater confidence, text and data mining and the cultural shift required to improve the rigor in science, one unifying theme emerged—tension. Tension between evaluation and culture, hands-on training and coursework, between making work public and ensuring its reliability, and between responsible reporting and satisfying the needs of a news organization.

These lines of tension contribute to the current structural rigidity in the culture of science that, according to Harris, make scientific rigor a difficult challenge to address. As he delved into biomedical sciences in 2014 after nearly a decade reporting on climate change and the environment, Harris took a broad look at the state of the research enterprise and asked, what are the consequences of limited funds on the structural influences supporting the current state of academic biomedical research?

Evaluation and Culture

The biggest obstacles influencing rigor, according to Harris, are the “underlying cultural issues” that confront science. He cites the financial crunch, career pressures and the hyper competitiveness of science, particularly in biomedical sciences, as examples. These are, he thinks, also the hardest problems to solve. “Even if you poured huge amounts of new money into biomedical research this problem would not go away quickly. It’s changing a mindset.” Fundamentally the “incentives are misaligned,” says Harris, to reward numbers of papers and how many of them are published in high profile journals, rather than “careful work where one is highly confident in results.”

Hands-on Training and Coursework

On the point of experimental responsibility, Harris’ book follows a path of practical recommendations to improve scientific rigor, including:

  • Improve experimental design and provide methods training
  • Validate cell lines, antibodies, gene constructs
  • Apply appropriate statistical analysis
  • Disclose experimental and analytical methods

During his research for the book, Harris was quite surprised to find out how little formal training there is in experimental methodology, particularly in biomedical research. He did note, however, that NIH is now funding attempts to develop curriculum, following an unsuccessful search to find the best training courses in the country to replicate. There is “huge room for improvement” in this area, he says, but how to integrate this into a training program? Changing a system that’s already in place to accommodate that is difficult, especially without reward and recognition for faculty teaching those courses. “Should it start more robustly at the end of the undergrad career?” One potential solution discussed during the interview is for post-docs to teach these courses to incoming graduate students, as part of a summer or first-quarter orientation program.

Making Work Public and Ensuring Reliability

Steps can be taken to improve the situation. For example, researchers with grants from the National Institutes of Health are required to authenticate the cell lines used in their work. “There’s no simple solution to be imposed from top down, it needs to also work bottom up,” says Harris when considering what key additional recommendations the community might consider. “Young scientists are more open to sharing and that leads to transparency, that helps solve some of the issues.” It’s not a silver bullet but it improves things if people can put their data out there, he says. Increased sharing and transparency addresses a number of these issues, and “to the extent that the culture of the young scientist is open to that, that’s great. Although it’s hard for them to change the culture, but over time this can help.”

A “more nimble publication system might encourage scientists to publish confirmatory or negative results,” Harris states. When asked specifically about the role of preprints and alternative forms of science communication, he acknowledges that experiments in openness and transparency are interesting although it’s unclear how successful they will be. Will that additional literature be less reliable, he wonders? “It’s the job of the entire community, not simply the scientist who makes a claim, to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says, when discussing the viable options of prepublication sharing of work and use of blogs and commenting as forums for peer review. However, as a science journalist, he ponders: “Do we want more literature out there or do we want more strict checks and less literature? Personally, I would like to see less literature, have people spend more time thinking about what they’re doing and being sure they’re right.”

Responsible Reporting and News Flow

Science journalists can help the issue of scientific rigor, acknowledges Harris. “They should step back from doing the story of the day. It takes more time to think about things from a broader perspective, but that’s more important than ever.” Science journalists must find a balance between that and satisfying the needs of their news organizations. Even an award-winning science correspondent like Harris admits that he needs to think differently about how he does his job on a day to day basis. “Look at what’s published and fits into the broader trend and context of similar results, and what it means elsewhere,” he recommneds. These are results that should be the focus of science journalists.

Easing the Tug of War

The good news is that many institutions now evaluate candidates for jobs and promotions based on a set limit of publications, chosen by the author to best represent their contributions to science. Additional efforts to broaden evaluation within the constraints of the existing scientific culture include recognition and credit for reagent validation, peer review activities and training others on experimental responsibility. Dedicating more time to thinking and less time to drafting and revising manuscripts may not the working philosophy of many labs or the culture of science, but it’s an issue getting attention and was expressed as a concern by leaders of the organization Rescuing Biomedical Research.

Everyone has a stake in the current structure of the scientific enterprise, says Harris, from journals caring about impact factors [PLOS de-emphasizes journal impact factors] to deans making sure scientists draw in funding and overhead for their institutions.

“The biomedical research enterprise is driven by economics; economic systems are much harder to change and that should be something the overall enterprise should be thinking about—how to rethink that.”

Harris believes clinical medicine in the 1990s experienced similar cultural stresses, but ClinicalTrials.gov, a web-based resource from the National Library of Medicine that provides public access to information about clinical studies and the availability of experimental drugs, got people “past some of these issues without making them rethink their place in the scientific universe.” Hopefully academic biomedical research can do the same.

****************

Richard Harris, science correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) received the 2010 Kavli Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his reporting on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He also received the award in 1988 and 1995. He currently covers biomedical sciences with a focus on investigative stories and in 2014 completed an eight-part series examining the stresses on biomedical research in the US caused by fluctuating funding levels.

 

Tug of War Image Credit: falco; pixabay.com

 

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