Open Science & Altmetrics Monthly Roundup (August 2014)

August was a huge month for open science and altmetrics. Here are some of the highlights:

AAAS shrugs off scientists voicing concern

More than 100 scientists signed a letter of concern addressed to AAAS regarding their new “open access” journal, Science Advances–specifically, the journal’s exorbitant publication fees and restrictive licensing requirements.

As Liz Allen over on the ScienceOpen blog reports, the AAAS issued a “classic PR” piece in response. AAAS’s post doesn’t directly address the letter, and doubles down on their commitment to keeping Science Advances prohibitively expensive to publish in and difficult to remix and reuse for the benefit of science.

After a private phone call between AAAS’s Marcia McNutt and Jon Tennant and no indication that AAAS would reconsider their stance, Erin McKeirnan and Jon Tennant penned a final article expressing their disappointment in the organization.

Be sure to follow Jon Tennant and Erin McKeirnan, who spearheaded the effort to write the letters of concern and are talking candidly on Twitter about further developments (or lack thereof).

International Research, Science and Education Organizations tell STM Publishers: No New Licenses!

In early August, a similar kerfuffle emerged over the issue of content licensing for scientific publications. Creative Commons licenses have been the defacto standard for scientific publishing for years due to their simplicity of use and recognition, but the Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers have released a suite of specialized licenses that some say intentionally confuse authors.

From the PLOS website:

The Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers has recently released a set of model licenses for research articles. In their current formulation, these licenses would limit the use, reuse and exploitation of research. They would make it difficult, confusing or impossible to combine these research outputs with other public resources and sources of knowledge to the benefit of both science and society. There are many issues with these licenses, but the most important is that they are not compatible with any of the globally used Creative Commons licenses. For this reason, we call on the STM Association to withdraw them and commit to working within the Creative Commons framework. [Click to read the full letter.]

The Association of STM Publishers issued a response, which unfortunately dismissed the  concerns raised. Catriona MacCallum and Cameron Neylon at PLOS continue to coordinate outreach on the issue; check out the PLOS Opens blog for the most up-to-date information, and consider contacting your favorite journals’ editorial boards to voice support for Creative Commons licenses.

Other Altmetrics and Open Science News

  • Shape the way publishers credit academic labor and expertise in scientific author lists: What can we do about honorary authorships and uncredited work in academia? CASRAI and ORCID have an idea: create a taxonomy for scientific author roles to help clarify who gets credited (and for what) on the byline of academic articles. Head over to the F1000Research blog to learn more and offer your feedback before Sept. 12.

  • Some scientists don’t find the Kardashian Index very funny: Since we covered a parody impact measure called the Kardashian Index in last month’s roundup, many have weighed in. Turns out, not everyone thought it was very funny, and many (rightly) called out the article for its belittling of scientists who engage others via social media. To read the responses and share your thoughts, visit the LSE Impact Blog.

  • More scholars post, discuss, and comment on research on Twitter than academic social networks like ResearchGate: Nature News surveyed more than 3,000 scientists on their use of social networks, and some of the results were surprising. For example, scientists are primarily on and ResearchGate for the same reason they’re on LinkedIn: just in case they’re contacted. And they more often share their work and follow conversations on Twitter than academic social networking sites. Check out the rest of the reported results over on Nature News.

  • Impactstory, PlumX, and Altmetric add new altmetric indicators: August saw an increase in the types of metrics reported by altmetrics aggregators. Impactstory recently added viewership statistics letting users know how often their embedded content has been viewed on PlumX rolled out GoodReads metrics, increasing altmetrics coverage for books. And now tracks mentions of research articles in policy documents–a big win for understanding how academic research influences public policy.

  • “GitHub for research” raising $1.5 million in funding: The creators of PubChase, Zappy Lab, are seeking funding for, a scientific protocols sharing and reuse repository. In addition to the private, “angel” funding they’ve raised to date, they’re also pursuing crowdfunding via Kickstarter. Check it out today.

  • You can now share your work directly on Impactstory: we’ve gotten a lot of love this week for our newest feature: embeddable content. It’s just one of the many we’re rolling out before September 15. Here’s how embedded articles, slides, and code look on others’ profiles; login to your profile and start sharing your work!

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