Fully booked information meeting on Open Science at UiT

09.01.19 Erik Lieungh

Every seat was taken when the University Library and TODOS (Tromsø Doctoral Students’ Organisation) held an event on the topics of Plan S, DORA and the negotiations of journal subscription deals. 


Academic Librarian Per Pippin Aspaas at Wednesday's session on Plan S and Open Science. Foto: Erik Lieungh.

Every seat was occupied in the auditorium at Nedre Lysthus at campus Breivika in Tromsø.
The meeting especially targeted Ph.D. candidates and early career scholars.

Per Pippin Aspaas, Academic librarian; Kenneth Ruud, vice chancellor of the director of the University Library; Johanne Raade, and librarian Lene Ottesen explained the following topics:

1) the possible cancellation of the Norwegian consortium deal with Elsevier and its practical implications - and how to get a hold of the article you need.
2) PlanS and Open Science policies at UiT and their practical implications for early career scholars.
3) The DORA declaration on research assessment and its implications.

4) Opinions on the Research Council’s implementation plan for Plan S.

There was also a Q&A at the end, where the audience could pose their questions to the University, and weigh in on their concerns about these topics.
Joseph Diab had questions and some concerns with the transition towards Open Science. Foto: Erik Lieungh


One of them was Joseph Diab, a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Pharmacy, who works on metabolomics in inflammatory bowel disease. 

–  I came here because I heard many worries at the end of last year on these topics, and the take-home message from the breakfast meeting held in December was that from the start of January Elsevier would be shut for us. There have also been talks on Plan S and how it will affect Norway as a place to attract new scientists. 

He says he is less concerned after the meeting but is not convinced on how Plan S might play out for his field of study, which is a small field, where most of the good journals are not open access.   

Diab explains that in his experience that larger publishers really make the most of marketing the articles they publish. They have a much higher impact factor, and an article he published recently, has been read more than one thousand times since it was published. 

– In addition, the library at the University did not want to support that fee, since that journal is a hybrid. However, in my opinion, they have a good journal model.  

He also believes that early career scholars will be affected by Plan S.

–  It will not affect me right now, but if you apply for a postdoc later you will be affected, and if you apply for a position in a different country. I think we should be concerned with the future of research in Norway. There is the issue of how attractive Norway will become for other scientists if Norway is the one taking this fight alone.

The article continues beneath the video of the event.


A paradigm shift

Johanne Raade, the director of the University Library appreciated the initiative from TODOS:

– I thought [the event] went very well. This was TODOS’ own initiative, and the audience here is the future of academia – they are the ones that can influence the transition we are moving towards, she said after the meeting.

– Many of our Ph.D.-students are worried about how this will affect their careers. Do you have any good answers to them today?

– We are in the middle of a paradigm shift. The important part is your own ethical attitudes towards these issues. Now we are giving away our publications. This is the researcher’s and the universities’ property, so we have to consider the ethical perceptive of this.

No deals

On the negotiations with the large publishers, Raade said that they are still going on.

Director of the University Library at UiT, Johanne Raade. Foto: Erik Lieungh
– We have scheduled meetings with the large publishers next week. All the large universities in Norway are in on the negotiations with springer Nature, Wiley, Elsevier, and Taylor & Francis.
However, the outcome of these negotiations is still uncertain.

– Does the library have a good solution in a scenario where there are no deals being made?

– Our researchers will not get a hold of all the articles. We have done a good job in getting
alternative routes to getting the articles they want on our website. However, the process might take more time than we are used to today.

Currently, all UiT-employees have access to these articles, but the large publishers might shut down that access if no agreement is reached. Therefore, it might be a good idea to download these articles as soon as possible.

– You can also get in contact with the library, and they will help you, says Raade.

The event was streamed at TODOS own YouTube channel

In addition, most of the information on the negotiations with the large journal publishers, and how a loss of access will affect you, can be found here.  

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