News - News in brief

Monitoring Bulletin – July 2020

This bulletin is prepared by the Datacc’ project team. It is a prototype in preparation for the future launch of a newsletter.

What’s new in your disciplines

ACS launches an open-science resource center. Announced mid July, the site lists journals with full open access (only three to date). It also details the price of APCs, payable for open access publication. Depending on the licenses chosen (commercial or non-commercial reuse, possible or non-modification of the content etc.), the cost payable by researchers varies. For example, the cost for an open-access item with a CC-BY license (allowing for commercial reuse) is $5,000. 

Publications in chemistry and physics: less open than others. A study published by HCERES this month ranks disciplines for their open-access publications. Chemistry and physics are below the global average at 30%, with 20% and 25% respectively.

Max Planck researchers will no longer have to pay to publish in American Physical Society journals. The two institutions allow authors to publish with open access for no APC (article processing charges). Read the statement.

“Negative results are more important.” To quote Janine Cossy, director of the organic chemistry laboratory at ESPCI Paris and member of the academy of sciences, from an RSC interview about her profile on Chemistry World website. “I’m not really interested in positive results. Negative results are more important because they lead to problem solving,” she explains. “If a PhD student only generates positive results, they won’t learn how to solve problems and thus won’t know how to solve them in their professional life.”

”Clean” data. “I can’t count the times someone drew conclusions from moving baselines and unique trials”, tells Curtis Guild, chemistry researcher at the University of Connecticut, before joining the private sector. In an interview with RSC, he describes what he calls “clean” data: “statistically relevant” explaining the “qualitative characteristics” of the technique used. “They are not necessarily the first thing out of the spectrometer. A methodological approach is required to reliably generate and interpret clean data. It seems slower and more difficult, because it is”, he concludes. But a move toward “clean” data production would be positive, leading to “more careful experiments.”

Covid-19: chemists use breath to detect the virus. IRCELyon and ISA laboratories are working with the CIRI on a breath test. The studies use a mass spectrometry called Vocus PTR-TOF. 

The Laboratory Notebook Survey continues. Launched at the end of June, the study conducted by the CNRS is open until September 4. The goal is to give an overview of the current use of laboratory, paper and electronic notebooks. This is a first step before allocating funding in the area. Please participate!

A webinar about electronic lab notebooks. A 45-minute webinar, organized by NFDI4Chem, is scheduled for July 29. Highlight: electronic lab notebooks. See here for the program and to register. 

A lab anecdote, interoperability for chemistry formats, software for all, and apps. We’ve just released new content on Firstly, a video of a chemistry teacher and researcher (ENS/Pasteur) who explains the trouble she had using her predecessor’s data for her PhD thesis.
At another level, we have also published a list of open source or free software for chemistry. We have also identified standard formats for data reuse, and mobile and tablet applications that are useful for both students and researchers.

From the institutions’ point of view

The latest about the research-program bill. Presented to ministers on July 22, the research-program bill aims to increase government funding to 3% of GDP. It is currently at 2.2%, which is below the OECD average. Germany is at 3.13%. The bill also includes an open-science indicator. Currently, 49% of French publications are open access. The goal is to reach 100% by 2030.
The CNRS ethics committee has responded to the bill by pointing out the lack of provisions regarding scientific integrity. “Competition as a dynamic in the research field is likely to generate inappropriate conduct, such as false results or unclear data and sources,” they declare. See the bill and impact study here.

ERC withdraws their support for Plan S. The ERC no longer supports the European initiative aiming to achieve 100% open access by 2021 for publications funded by ANR and other agencies.. This is due to the plan to ban the “hybrid” model invented by publishers with subscriptions for libraries and fees for researchers wanting to move their articles to open access. The ERC supports the continuation of hybrid journals, but the coalition behind the Plan S disapproves of this use of public money. “Horizon 2020 funding is low enough. It should not be used to pay for publication costs in hybrid magazines,” their statement explains

Opening data: survey results

The consequences of FAIR data. In the first issue of the digital intelligibility journal, lawyer Agnès Robin explains that encouraging researchers to improve documenting practices and store their data to facilitate sharing (FAIR data principle) “involves deep organizational change, including the recruitment of data management personnel who can organize data storage and archiving to manage access and distribution. Data engineering is being developed, but will require substantial budgets in the future.”

Young researchers are likely to be more positive about sharing data. This is one of the conclusions drawn by a study involving 995 researchers from 13 German universities and published in PLoS ONE. The study observes, “This is perhaps due to the fact that young researchers are dependent on publications and can be cited as co-authors thanks to data sharing.”

FAIR data resources

A new data-management site has just been released. How to FAIR is run by Danish universities with support from the Research Data Alliance. Featuring numerous testimonials from researchers, it includes various topics such as file format, metadata, licenses, identifiers, etc. It also features many concrete examples of data management. This short video presents the issues of the site.


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