The Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform: Catching Up to Plan S and Going Further

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Guest Authors: Dylan Roskams-Edris (Open Science Consultant and Invited Scholar with the Center for Genomics and Policy,), JB Poline (Associate Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University), and Nikola Stikov (Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Polytechnique Montreal).

First off, what is Plan S and why does it matter?

In September 2018 a group of European funding agencies, along with some private funders, assessed how scientific information is disseminated – namely that university researchers receive public funding, perform experiments, collect data, write articles about the results, review each other’s articles, and then the publicly funded institutions they work for foot the ever increasing bill to buy access to all this work – and decided enough was enough; publicly funded science should be publicly accessible.

They formed cOAlition S and announced Plan S which, boiled down, says that after 2020 any work funded in whole or in part by the members of the coalition must be published in journals that allow immediate, free, and public access to articles. They also published a set of guidelines and best practices that journals publishing funded research must follow. Those interested in the details of Plan S are encouraged to read about them here.

Only 5 months after Plan S was revealed, the University of California system – one of the largest and most well-respected public academic systems in the world – announced that they were ending their relationship with the publisher Elsevier. The split was due primarily to Elsevier’s refusal to make all UC published research open access on the UC’s terms.

These efforts are a great start.

For those actively working to open global research efforts, however, efforts like Plan S are only the beginning. The push for open science is much larger than making scholarly articles open access. Open science demands that the data, software, materials, and know-how that enables science are also shared – or better yet, openly published.

Sharing, Publishing, and Open Access Articles

It is worth pausing here for a brief aside about the distinction between open sharing, open publishing of research resources, and open access publishing of articles. All of these are important but for open science to be successful the distinction between them has to be clear.

Open sharing consists of making research resources available in a way they can be freely accessed and used. Sharing datasets in a repository or data sharing platform like Dryad, or code used for data analysis and visualization via a service like Github, are good examples. Sharing in this way rapidly disseminates resources and makes them available for use and adaptation by others as quickly as possible. Open publishing of research resources, however, involves the filtration of these resources through other researchers. These peer researchers make sure that the shared resource – whether it is data, code, single figures, or any of the plethora of resources developed throughout the scientific process – is in a form that is standard and easily usable by others, as well as presenting those resources in a curated form on a website or repository. Open access publishing of articles is the primary target of efforts like Plan S and relates to publishing scholarly articles in such a way that they are freely accessible and usable.

The Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform (CONP), along with myriad other organizations, are developing the resources needed to enable open sharing, open publishing of research resources, and open publishing of articles. By doing so the CONP is helping open science and reduce the current inequalities in access to all of the tools and research outputs science needs to thrive.

Beyond Publications

Assessing the situation here in Canada, the current open access policies of Canada’s primary trio of scientific funding agencies take a weaker stance than Plan S and, as we’ve already argued, efforts like Plan S are only a start. Even if Canada were to suddenly marshal its forces of scientific-policy and follow the lead of cOAlition S we would still be well behind where open science should be. Scholarly papers are just the tip of the iceberg of scientific discovery. Any given publication is the result of months of work involving data collection, coming up with hypotheses, planning experiments, carefully recording progress in notebooks, developing software, analyzing results, writing drafts, and working with editors. The iceberg metaphor is a good one; the publication, like the burg’s tip, is what is seen, but floats atop a much larger body of work that supports it.

Open science in its full and rich instantiation is about sharing and publishing all as many scientific resources as possible to enable collaboration throughout the research process. It grows from the simple idea that working together is more effective than working in silos; that many hands make light work and many eyes spot more errors. In order to work together scientists need to be able to freely discover each other’s work and use each other’s resources, not just have access to the polished end result. Doing so will improve replication, catch errors in methodology early on, and prevent redundancy, all while reducing unnecessary barriers to discovery and outlays from the public coffers.

The internet and modern computing technology make this dissemination possible. What we need now is for funders, institutions, and scientists themselves to commit to encouraging and enabling the sharing their data, code, notebooks, experimental protocols, draft manuscripts, and all the other pivotal elements of discovery.

Building on Plan S

Plan S does mention the sharing of scientific data. On their Principles and Implementation page they encourage the sharing of research resources underlying publications in repositories that make the resource “as open as possible and as closed as necessary”, as well as highlighting resource sharing as a key topic of negotiations between journals, funders, and institutions. Doing so, however, requires repositories where data and code that can be stored, data sharing platforms where that data can easily linked to publications, as well as organized curation efforts to make sure the linked research resources are usable by others.

The CONP is building exactly these resources for the neuroscience community. It is collaboratively developing the user portal, online publishing, informational resources, and governance and policy mechanisms that will enable neuroscientists to disseminate each component of their work as openly as possible, and to keep them open. The CONP scientists and stakeholders believe that these resources will catalyze collaboration and accelerate neuroscientific discovery.

What’s Needed Now to Go Further

But more is needed.

Opening science requires the collective effort of funders, data sharing platforms, academic institutions, and individual scientists. Science doesn’t have to be opened all at once, but steps down the open road must be taken, and must be taken now. The CONP will provide tools and guidance, but scientific culture shift requires a concerted community effort.

Some first steps needed to enable the open publishing of all research resources include: (1) forging agreements and partnerships between journals and open science platforms to make it easy for scientists to share their data, publish it in a curated form, and link it to publications, (2) promotion and tenure policies at academic institutions that value the sharing and publishing of data on par with producing articles, (3) funding agencies that require (and enforce) sharing and publishing data, code, and materials associated with publications as a condition of receiving a grant, and (4) a commitment from scientists themselves to change the culture of science towards openly sharing and publishing as many of their resources as they can.

Tak til Ryan Merkley

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Efter fem år som leder af Creative Commons, har Ryan Merkley nu meldt sin afgang.

Dermed er perioden med Ryan som leder ved vejs ende. Ryans største fortjeneste har nok været at omlægge organisationen til den nye globale strategi, hvor grundtanken har været at give større plads til deltagelse og mangfoldighed og mindre styring fra toppen.

Den strategi er blot i gang med at blive implementeret, og det vil derfor være for tidligt at sige præcist hvilke udbytter den omlægning vil få.

I forbindelse med Ryans afgang er der tilføjet fire nye personer i et board of directors. Det er skarpe folk, som helt sikkert vil give Creative Commons en ballast også i forhold til at skulle finde en ny leder til organisationen.

Herfra skal der lyde en tak til Ryan Merkley for sit arbejde og for de mange situationer, hvor vi har haft mulighed for at mødes med ham.

Tak til Ryan Merkley af Peter Leth cc:by Creative Commons Danmark

Leadership Transitions at Creative Commons

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Today Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley is announcing the conclusion of his five years of leadership of the organization. As he describes in his personal message, he is stepping down as CEO to start a new position at Wikimedia. We are thankful to Ryan for his five years of leadership at CC and excited for him and the Commons that he will continue as a leader in the open knowledge community. We are all very proud of Creative Commons’ accomplishments during the past five years—including redesign of our global network, launch and development of the CC Certificate program, and our new search engine—which provides a welcoming front door to the commons.

In other leadership news, I am delighted to announce today the appointment of four new members of the Creative Commons Board of Directors. Carolina Botero, Bilal Randeree, Alek Tarkowski, and Alexander Macgillivray are all longtime members of the CC community. Each of them brings incredible expertise and insight to this new role with the organization, as the bios below illustrate. Carolina, Bilal, and Alek have begun their CC board service, while Alex will begin his term in January 2020. All of us at Creative Commons are thrilled to start working with these outstanding CC community members in this new capacity.

Two of the touchstones of the organizational strategy that has driven our recent work have been gratitude and collaboration. On behalf of the Creative Commons Board of Directors, I want to express my sincere gratitude for Ryan’s service to our organization and mission. Looking to the future, we are excited about the opportunities for collaboration we will have with Ryan in his new role. I am also grateful to our new board members for their willingness to serve, and I’m excited to collaborate with them and with the global Creative Commons community on the process of searching for a new leader for CC as we enter our third decade. We will soon be announcing details about that search process and inviting community input. In the meantime, my board colleagues and I are working closely with CC’s dedicated management team to ensure continuity and momentum for our important work.

The Commons is ever-changing and resilient. It is my great honor to cultivate it along with Creative Commons staff, our global network, and supporters.

Share alike, friends!

Molly Van Houweling
Creative Commons Board Chair


Carolina Botero (Photo by Diego Mora, CC BY)

Carolina Botero is the Executive Director of the Colombian civil society digital rights organization Karisma Foundation. She is a researcher, lawyer, lecturer, writer, and consultant on topics related to law and technology. Carolina works in the defense of human rights in technology environments, following debates on freedom of expression, privacy, access to knowledge and culture, social innovation and ICT in technology. She has been a leader in the CC community in Colombia and around the world since 2003. Carolina holds a master’s degree in international law and cooperation (VUB – Belgium), and a master’s degree in Business and Contracting Law (2006, UAB – Spain). She frequently writes op-eds for El Espectador and La Silla Vacía.

Bilal Randeree (Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY)

Bilal Randeree is a digital media practitioner, investor and strategist. He currently serves as the Director for Africa/MENA at the Media Development Investment Fund, a mission-driven investment fund providing debt and equity financing to independent news and information companies. Bilal has 15 years’ experience in business, tech and media—by way of a unique career path. As a qualified Chartered Accountant, he spent a few years in Transaction Services before going back to school and studying journalism. That culminated with him serving as Social Media Manager and Online Editor at Al Jazeera in Qatar, which he eventually left to lead a tech startup. He has participated and led Creative Commons activities in the Arab World for the last 10 years, and now back home in South Africa.

Alek Tarkowski (Photo by Centrum Cyfrowe, CC BY)

Alek Tarkowski is President of Centrum Cyfrowe, a Polish foundation supporting open, digital society. He is a sociologist, activist, and strategist. Since 2004 he has been active in Poland and around the world in organizations and social movements building an open internet. His focus has been on copyright, commons-based approaches to resource management, and intellectual property. His interests include digital strategies for societies, regulation of emergent technologies, digital skills, and openness of public resources. He is the co-founder of Creative Commons Poland, Communia (the European Association on the Digital Public Domain), and Polish Coalition for Open Education (KOED). He co-chaired the strategic process for the new Creative Commons Global Network Strategy, is an alumnus of the Leadership Academy of Poland (Class of 2017), and in 2016 was named a New Europe 100 Challenger.

Alexander Macgillivray (Photo by Doc Searls, CC BY-SA)

Alexander Macgillivray is a lawyer whose interests span ethics, law, policy, government, decision making, the Internet, algorithms, social justice, access to information, coding, and the intersection of all of those. He was United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the final two plus years of the Obama Administration. He was Twitter’s General Counsel, as well as the company’s head of Corporate Development, Public Policy, Communications, and Trust & Safety. Before that he was Deputy General Counsel at Google and created the Product Counsel team. He has served on the board of the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) USA, was one of the early Berkman Klein Center folks, was certified as a First Grade Teacher by the State of New Jersey, and studied Reasoning & Decision Making as an undergraduate. he He is currently co-founder and GC of Alloy.us. He is also doing a bunch of coding, writing, and short burst projects with organizations thinking about what they should be doing next. He is also proud to be a board member at Data & Society and advisor to the Mozilla Tech Policy Fellows.

The post Leadership Transitions at <br /> Creative Commons appeared first on Creative Commons.

Moving on from Creative Commons

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I have some bittersweet professional news to share. I will be stepping down from my position at Creative Commons and joining the Wikimedia Foundation as Chief of Staff. Leading Creative Commons has been the most challenging and rewarding role of my career. It has been a privilege to do this work, and together we’ve had some incredible accomplishments. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with such a dedicated and professional staff, and a caring and driven community — I deeply believe that our collaborative efforts are the reason for every success we’ve had. I’m excited to continue working on issues that I care about in the open community. And I’m excited to continue working collaboratively with the CC team as a community member and partner.

Looking back on five years as CC’s CEO, I believe that the organization is in a stronger position than it has ever been. CC’s focus is clear, building a vibrant, usable commons powered by collaboration and gratitude through community support and training, product development and partnerships, and engagement.

Operationally, CC has an inspired and driven management team, with exceptional staff leading all aspects of our operations and programs. They are some of my favorite humans, and it’s been a joy to work with them. The team is guided by a multi-year strategy and collaboratively developed goals that support accountability and transparency. Financially, the organization has established a meaningful reserve upon which it can draw, secured partnerships with new multi-year funders, and initiated a strategy to secure multi-year relationships that has been embraced by the Board and is being executed upon by CC’s senior management.

Together, we renewed and expanded the CC network, and it is now nearly four times its previous size, with new and long-standing leaders working together to grow CC in communities previously not engaged with CC. I can’t underscore how important that community work has been, how impactful it will be in the future, and how happy I was to see the community hold such a central role in CC’s strategy and programs. Finally, CC has renewed and strengthened partnerships with funders, peer organizations, content partners, institutions, governments, and more. We have established The Big Open, and taken a leading role in inviting others to join us.

That’s a lot. And after five years, it should be. I joined the organization at a challenging time, with a deep belief in the power of sharing to create a more equitable world, to drive innovation, and create access for all to culture and knowledge. My hope was always to leave the organization in a good place, so that its next CEO can join the staff, community, and board in imagining where CC should go next.

Nobody’s perfect, but I do believe I’ve accomplished the goals we set together, and it’s a good time to move on and invite new leadership in the organization. In the intervening period I will work closely with the CC management team and the board to effect a smooth transition.

To the entire CC team, with whom it has been my great pleasure to work so closely for the past five years, I want to share an enormous amount of gratitude. To CC’s many partners, supporters, and communities, I’m sure I’ll see you again in The Big Open. And as CC enters its 20th year, I look forward to celebrating with all of you as colleagues and friends.

Please also read Creative Commons Board Chair Molly Van Houweling’s post on what’s next for CC.


Ryan Merkley
CEO, Creative Commons

The post Moving on from Creative Commons appeared first on Creative Commons.

Get to know an Academic Editor: Karen Root

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Note: PLOS will be attending the ESA conference in Louisville, Kentucky starting on August 11. Stop by our booth and say hello! Dr. Karen Root, an Academic Editor for PLOS ONE, will also be in attendance. You can meet her at our booth on Monday, August 12 between 3 and 4pm. Here’s a brief interview with her. 

Q: What is your area of study and what are you currently working on?
A: I originally began as behavioral ecologist but realized there were real issues in the population that I was studying related to human activities. Conservation biology drew me since it provided a way to utilize my ecological training to directly address some of those issues. My current research focuses on native species and the factors that imperil them, but also on the effects of restoration and management.

Q: What first drew you into the field?
A: I have always been interested in the natural world around me, especially growing up in an urban center. During college I spent a summer at the Itasca Biological Station and fell in love with field work. In graduate school, I grew to appreciate techniques such as spatial analysis and population modeling that complemented the field studies. Conservation biology is a way to integrate all of these approaches.

Q: Could you share your thoughts on why this type of research is important? How does it affect other areas of research? Other communities?
A: I think of myself as a practical ecologist–basic ecological research is important but there are issues that need to be addressed. When I can demonstrate the societal value of my research, I receive more support, collaboration is more likely, and scientists and non-scientists alike are more receptive.

Q: How long have you been an editor on PLOS ONE? What have you enjoyed most about it?
A: I have only been an editor for a year, but it has been a very interesting experience and I have learned so much more about science communication.

Q: Why is PLOS ONE important to you and the ecology community?
A: I appreciate the inclusivity of PLOS ONE. It is very tempting to focus on one aspect of ecology or a particular subdiscipline but you would miss out on all of the other interesting research out there that can strengthen your own science.

Q: What advice would you give to authors in your field who are getting ready to submit their work?
A: Read broadly. If I can understand a paper that is not in my area of expertise, then I can learn something important about how to write more effectively.

Q: What are you most looking forward to while attending ESA?
A: One of my favorite aspects of ESA is the chance to catch up on the latest advances not only in ecological science but also education.

Q: Are there any trends in your field right now that you’re hoping to learn more about?
A: There are so many new ways to communicate about science and become more effective.

Q: Why do you believe in Open Science?
A: Problem solving requires cooperation, coordination and large amounts of data to be truly effective. Open Science can facilitate these aspects as well as increase the diversity of participants and disciplines in the process.

New official translations of CC legal tools published for Korean and Czech

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The version 4.0 license suite and CC0 are now available in Korean as a result of the collaborative work of CC Korea volunteers. The 4.0 licenses are also now available in Czech, thanks to the work and leadership of CC community members from the Czech Republic. 

For the Korean translations, the process was initiated by a group of CC Korea members as a collaborative project in 2017 and was on hold before being resumed in late 2018. The Korean translations were drafted by Soohyun Pae, professional translator and former CC Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator, and then reviewed by Jay Yoon, the former Public Lead of CC Korea who is a practicing lawyer. The final draft for review was submitted to CC HQ on Feb 8, 2019. With the kind support of the Korea Copyright Commission, the public consultation was held from Apr 1 to Apr 30, 2019 through a dedicated webpage and the announcement was made by CODE through its social media and by the Korea Copyright Commission on its website. The public consultation went smoothly and was completed with no major issues found.

Now that the Korean translations of 4.0 and CC0 licenses are available, CC Korea plans to share the news online through various channels and hold offline events to celebrate the work and promote the use of the licenses to the Korean public and local institutions.

For Czech, the process began in 2014 and went on to include input by several legal experts and two public consultations. Finally, after many drafts over the past five years, the translations went live in June 2019. The multi-year process was led by Matěj Myška, Lucie Straková, Anna Drgová, Jiří Marek, and Martin Loučka. 

Congratulations and thanks to everyone for their great work and support throughout the long road to publication of these two important translations! 

Korean 4.0 licenses:

Korean CC0: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/legalcode.ko

Czech 4.0 licenses:

The post New official translations of CC legal tools published for Korean and Czech appeared first on Creative Commons.

Open Education Links from Around the World #11

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  • OER Starter KitThis starter kit has been created to provide instructors with an introduction to the use and creation of open educational resources (OER). The text is broken into five sections: Getting Started, Copyright, Finding OER, Teaching with OER, and Creating OER. Although some chapters contain more advanced content, the starter kit is primarily intended for users who are entirely new to Open Education.
  • Open textbooks or not? For exam scores that doesn’t matter. For your pocket surly does. Look at the reaserch.
  • On Education & Democracy – in this book Susan Hopgood and Fred van Leeuwen share timely and important ideas about the way in which public education can be sustain and advance democracy. The book is licensed under a CC-BY-NC-SA.
  • Last week was all about landing the Moon. OER as well. Here you can explore Moon rocks that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin collected.

PLOS Computational Biology announce reproducibility pilot

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At PLOS Computational Biology, one of our driving motivations is to provide services and support to our community of authors, editors, reviewers and readers. Transparency and reproducibility in peer review and reporting of results are two key aspects of that mission, and we are very pleased to announce a pilot on the journal that aims to support both of these aspects of publishing.

Our Managing Editor, Gary Beardmore, and Editor in Chief, Jason Papin, have been working with the Center for Reproducible Biomedical Modelling. Through this collaboration we will soon be able to offer expert technical peer review specifically checking that submitted systems biology or physiology-based models run according to the results presented in the manuscript submitted to the journal. The peer review will be delivered in addition to our usual scientific assessment of the manuscript, and for the duration of the pilot it will be optional for authors to take part. The expert peer reviewers will be eligible for inclusion in our collaboration with ORCID to get credit for the review work that they complete. Furthermore, as for all manuscripts published at PLOS Computational Biology, authors will have the option to make the expert review open – alongside the other reports on the manuscript – in our published peer review.

We plan to monitor the pilot and to report back on the results next year. The aim is for the review process to be completed in the usual time frame for manuscripts at the journal, and for authors to feel that it provided them with additional guidance regarding the reporting of their models. Overall, we hope that this pilot will contribute to making it easier for interested readers to reproduce and build on models published in the journal – supporting the science going forward.

Original image by Rita Bhui





Open Education Links from Around the World #10

European Open EDU Policy Project -

  1. Communia Association is tracking the implementation of the new Copyright Directive across Europe and paying special attention to the educational exception. The latest blogpost reviews the Dutch proposal for the implementation.
  2. How open source can support Open Education Resource? Christer Gundersen: Instead of starting from scratch, projects that are developing Open Educational resources(OER) should look for ways to adapt and enhance existing products, resources and approaches. An essential part of the term open innovation in the context of OER will be a community built on reuse and improvement of the existing source code, content and data. Read more on his latest blogpost.
  3. Viki is the biggest Slovak educational portal with both public and proprietary content. Public beta tests started in May. It is not only a repository. Users can easily create interactive lessons, as well as sophisticated educational materials, quizzes, or interactive books.
  4. Despite the rhetoric put forward by the major global MOOCs providers, who still speak of “MOOC revolution” and of “MOOCs transforming access to education”, the feeling is that MOOCs are losing their first O (the one of Open), Fabio Nascimbeni and Valentina Goglio noticed during eMOOC2019 conference in Naples.

Get to know an Academic Editor: Lars Juhl Jensen

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Note: PLOS will be attending the ISMB/ECCB conference in Basel, Switzerland starting July 21. Stop by booth 7 and say hello. Lars Juhl Jensen, an Academic Editor for PLOS Computational Biology, will also be in attendance. Here’s a brief interview with him. 

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I was trained as a chemist but grew up programming, so bioinformatics was an obvious match for me. I started in the group of Søren Brunak, where I did my training including Ph.D. and then spent six years at EMBL in the group of Peer Bork before starting my own group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research in 2009.

Q: How many years have you been an editor on PLOS CB?

A: I’ve been associate editor on PLOS CB for 11 years.

Q: Why is PLOS CB important to you and the community

A: PLOS CB plays an important role in bridging the gap between the more algorithm-focused bioinformatics journals and the traditional biological journals, which rarely publish studies that do not have a wet-lab component.

Q: What is your area of study and why is it important?

A: My group has a strong focus on tool development, primarily related to biological networks and biomedical text mining. Network representations of the current biological knowledge and available data, including what is buried in the literature, is increasingly important for interpreting new omics data.

Q: What first drew you into the field?

A: With an interest in molecular biology and many years of programming experience, it was really a no-brainer to go into bioinformatics back when the first fully sequenced genomes became available.

Q: What are you most looking forward to while attending ISMB?

A: The most interesting sessions to me are the NetBio COSI and special session on text mining, which I am involved in organizing. Besides that, the poster sessions are always a highlight for me.

Q: Are there any trends in your field right now?

A: Deep learning is obviously a major trend in text mining. Other than that, the move towards open licenses on databases and tools continues to be strong.

Q: Why do you believe in Open Science?

A: In my experience sharing the tools we make already before publishing them is highly advantageous. If you already have a user base before submitting a manuscript, it only becomes easier to publish your work. Editors can see that it is worthwhile publishing, most bugs will have been sorted out before peer review, and the publication is more likely to get cited as soon as it comes out.

Birds, bees, Beethoven–and other PLOS research making June headlines!

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New research from PLOS ONE shows that flowers near managed hives may be one of the sources of virus transmission from infected honey bees to wild bumblebees. 

Lead author Samantha Alger summarizes:  “The study supports a widely accepted yet largely untested hypothesis: viruses are spilling over from managed honey bees into wild bumble bee species and this is likely occurring through the shared use of flowers,” noting that careful monitoring and treatment of diseased honeybee colonies could help mitigate the damage from these viruses to wild bees. Read more about this work on the Economist, the Independent, and IFLScience.

A recent study from PLOS Biology uses a new device that noninvasively measures blood flow and oxygenation in the brain and blubber of harbor seals to better understand the biology behind mammalian diving. The device showed that harbor seals routinely reduced blood flow to their blubber, thereby slowing oxygen consumption, around 15 seconds before diving into water. This indicates the seals have conscious control over their dive reflex (previously thought to be a purely automatic response). 

Dive deeper into these findings at the New Scientist and the Daily Mail. 

Another recent paper from PLOS Biology describes how birds of a feather flock together–even when it’s more energetically costly to fly as a group. The authors compared the flight characteristics of solo and paired pigeons making a 7km flight, and found that paired individuals had improved homing accuracy (which reduced the flight distance and time); the cost of this accuracy was an increase in speed and wingbeat frequency compared to solo fliers. The fact that pigeons are willing to pay this energetic premium underscores the importance of flocking together.

Lead author Lucy Taylor adds: “The results of this study were completely unexpected. Energy is the currency of life so it’s astonishing that the birds are prepared to pay a substantial energetic cost to fly together.”

 Read more at the New York Daily News and New Atlas, or check out a video at DailyMotion.com

Finally, a new study from PLOS ONE mathematically characterizes Beethoven’s string quartets for the first time, applying statistical and data science techniques to reveal recurring patterns in the great composer’s music. 

Read more at Forbes, Cosmos Magazine, and The Week–and have a listen to the string quartets inspiring this work, too.  


Sharing, Generosity and Gratitude

Creativecommons.org -

Many friends from the CC and open education communities have noticed my absence from meetings and conferences in the past six months. I’m ready to share why.

I was diagnosed with an auto-immune liver disease in 2005, and with liver cancer in September, 2018. The cancer was caused by the underlying liver disease. Once the cancer was diagnosed, my doctor quickly sent me to the Mayo Clinic. I spent the entire month of December in twice-daily radiation and round-the-clock chemotherapy. Bottom line: I needed a liver transplant to live.

You may have heard about the organ shortage in the United States. There are simply not enough organs available to people who need them. Most countries have similar unfortunate statistics. Want to help? Sign up to be a donor (US link) and talk to your family about your decision.

Because I was not sick enough to receive a cadaver liver, my only option was a living donor transplant. Amazingly, the human liver can regenerate itself if you cut it in two. After learning of my health status, 16 friends and family volunteered to donate part of their liver to me. To say I was overwhelmed by their generosity is an understatement.

It seemed appropriate then, when the Mayo Clinic selected my liver donor, that it would be the person who helped train me in open education – David Wiley (read David’s blog post). I have known David for over a decade. He is a friend and colleague, and he saved my life. 

I am pleased to report David and I successfully completed the liver donor transplant on June 28. Without David’s generosity, I would have been dead from cancer in a year. No words can adequately express how thankful I am. His gift will both allow me to live a full, healthy life, and will enable me to work with all of you to create universal, equitable, inclusive and meaningful learning opportunities for everyone.

David is home recovering and growing his liver back to full size. I will be at the Mayo Clinic through the end of July. After the Mayo surgeons skillfully transplanted ⅔ of David’s liver into me, he and I laughed about organ remixes, if he should receive attribution, and wished we’d have asked for a CC tattoo on my new liver.

I also want to thank:

  • the CC staff, my CEO, and our Board for their complete and ongoing support
  • TJ Bliss and David’s wife Elaine who cared for David post-surgery
  • my partner in life, Lesley, who has been by my side throughout

It continues to be my life’s honor to work for this fine organization and with you good people, and I look forward to doing so for many years to come. 

With gratitude,


The post Sharing, Generosity and Gratitude appeared first on Creative Commons.

Kids in Kenya using Google Assistant

GoOpen.no -

The last few days I have been working to design new features for the GDL with children in schools in Kibera (Nairobi), the largest urban slum in Africa. It has been a true privilege!

The most important learning this week is that even a child living in a shed, without water and electricity can be an expert on a smart phone. Praise and Faith (10 years old) in this video showed us how they are using voice control to read books with Google assistant!

Summary of the second edition EduCoop

European Open EDU Policy Project -

The EduCoop – Open Education Cooperative is the result of a wide view of openness in education. It grew from a strong belief that openness means cooperation, process, diversity, readiness for change, trust, courage and a willingness to experience something new.

The Cooperative’s focus is on a cooperation model for creating high-quality open educational resources (OER). We want to improve the competences of the project’s participants when it comes to using digital tools in education, and increase their knowledge of copyrights, Creative Commons and free licenses.

During last year’s pilot edition, we have worked with math teachers. This year we have concentrated on key teachers. The decision was made after many discussions with teachers of different subjects. They all stressed that lack of materials for home room is a huge problem, and as a result, those special hours when teachers could concentrate on solving pupils’ important problems are often “wasted” for giving grades or useless chatter.

We invited 14 teachers to participate in the project. They had absolute freedom when it came to the topics they covered or how they worked. There were only two principles: the materials were to be made in groups and become open educational resources. During four meetings and additional remote collaboration they fine-tuned their topic and got to know design methods and technical solutions, all while learning about novelties from the education world.

As a result, participant created four open educational resources. They cover such topics as art therapy, co-creation of school space, verbal and non-verbal communication. All materials will be soon published on our website.

Open Source building blocks for OER

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I am currently working on a project where we are identifying building blocks that could be used to develop Digital Public Goods.

Digital public goods(DPG) are tools that serve to educate us, help us thrive in our professional lives, enrich our cultural experiences, and ultimately do good for the benefit of humankind. Examples of these goods exist all around us in the areas of information, education, healthcare, finance, and more. Many also serve to further the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

To contain the scope of the first “beta version” of DPG building blocks I have started with building blocks for Open Educational Resources(OER).

Open Source is defined as a corner stone of all DPGs, so I started working on a list of Open Source building blocks for OER.

Open Source for OER

Open source is software where the source code is available for anyone to view, use, change, and then share. Making source code publicly available allows others to build on and learn from it, enabling broad collaboration from people around the world. 

Instead of starting from scratch, projects that are developing Open Educational resources(OER) should look for ways to adapt and enhance existing products, resources and approaches. An essential part of the term open innovation in the context of OER will be a community built on reuse and improvement of the existing source code, content and data.

Reuse means assessing what resources are currently available and using them to meet future goals. Improve means modifying existing tools, products and resources to improve their overall quality, applicability and impact. OERs should start by identifying relevant methods, standards, software platforms and technology tools that have already been tried and tested. 

Examples of Open Source – DPG building blocks

There are hundreds of open source projects covering all aspects of DPG development. The most common building blocks of the internet are all open source, and most of them could be defined as DPG building blocks. 

The two first examples in this category represent a more general group of platforms. The other examples aim to show the whole spectrum of software, design elements and components that could be defined as DPG building blocks and OER. 

Open source development frameworks

Node.js, AngularJS and Bootstrap represent some of the most used open source development platforms and toolkits in the world. These are platforms used by thousands of projects, involving a large existing community of developers. 

Open source content management systems(CMS)

A content management system or CMS is a software that facilitates creating, editing, organizing, and publishing content. WordPress is an example of an open source content management system, that allows you to create and publish your content on the web. 

WordPress and other open source content management system could be defined as DPG building blocks. 


The fundamental goal of the Readium project is to produce a set of robust, performant, spec-compliant reading system toolkits that support digital publishing formats (e.g. EPUB, Web Publications etc.) and can be deployed in browsers or built into native apps on iOS, Android or the desktop. 



H5P is a free and open-source content collaboration framework based on JavaScript. H5P is an abbreviation for HTML5 Package and aims to make it easy for everyone to create, share and reuse interactive HTML5 content. Interactive videos, interactive presentations, quizzes, interactive timelines and more.


EPUB and the EPUBCheck

EPUBCheck is a tool to validate the conformance of EPUB publications against the EPUB specifications. EPUBCheck can be run as a standalone command-line tool or used as a Java library. EPUBCheck is open source software, maintained by the DAISY Consortium on behalf of the W3C.


Google Lighthouse 

Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. You can run it against any web page, public or requiring authentication. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more.


Material Design

Material Design is an open source adaptable system of guidelines, components, and tools that support the best practices of user interface design. The Material design framework and community includes principles, examples, icons and open sources implementations like material-ui.com that support reuse and easy adaptation of Material.io.


Sector specific applications 

In some cases, application features are specific for one sector, like education. Assessing what source code and resources that are currently available amongst sector-specific projects can be useful for a DPG project developing in the same sector. 

Examples OER projects within the educational sector sharing code on GitHub:

You’ve completed your review – now get credit with ORCID

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For more than five years, PLOS authors have used ORCID to make their professional lives easier. Now reviewers at PLOS can take advantage of the same benefits to track their contributions, claim credit, and build up their research profiles.

Same ORCID, now for reviews

Starting today, reviewers can enter their ORCID iD in the Editorial Manager submission system for all PLOS journals and opt-in to automatically get credit when they complete a review, the same way they would for their published articles. The ORCID reviewer record does not contain details about the specific manuscript and we’ve introduced a delay, so reviewers can track their work even while retaining their anonymity.

Being able to record more types of work is especially important for researchers who are working to build up their scholarly reputation. For those who are getting ready to apply for funding or a new position, credit for reviews helps demonstrate the full breadth of their contributions to the field.

“We thank PLOS for partnering with ORCID to provide their reviewers the opportunity to get credit for their critical contribution to the research ecosystem.”

– Laure Haak, Executive Director of ORCID.


More ways to get credit = more reasons to review

Reviewers’ contributions to the publication process are essential. They are working researchers who give their time and expertise to help authors improve their work and help editors decide when a manuscript is ready to become part of the permanent scientific record. But recognition for reviews often flies under the radar, in part, because tools for tracking these contributions without compromising anonymity may not be available.

Earlier this year we rolled out options for signed and published peer review history. Combined with ORCID, we aim to give reviewers the tools and opportunities to claim credit for their reviews in a way that works for them.


Write great reviews           Get credit          

Peer reviewer center

Signed peer review

Peer review toolbox

Peer review history


How it works

ORCID is a persistent unique identifier that distinguishes you from other researchers with the same name and sticks with you throughout your careers. Even if you change your name, switch institutions, or move to another country, all of the contributions tracked by your ORCID are still identifiable and attributable to you

If you don’t already have an ORCID iD, you can sign up on the ORCID website. Then, follow the instructions on our site to link your iD to your Editorial Manager profile.

Once your ORCID is linked, you can opt-in to automatically alert ORCID anytime you complete a review. For each new review, you’ll get a message with the option to post the citation to your ORCID record. Click “authorize” to start tracking your contributions.


Open Education Links from Around the World #9

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  1. This time we are starting our links review with “Practical Guidelines on Open Education for Academics.” prepared by the EU Science Hub. The study presents practical tips for the implementation of open education practices in the higher education sector.
  2. New paper for Open Education Policy Lab has been released. “Fostering Openness in Education: Considerations for Sustainable Policy-Making”. It reviews a framework to support the co-creation of policies to sustainably foster Open Education.
  3. How open education can address the need for constant developing lifelong learning skills? Read an opinion piece.
  4. And if you would like to contribute to open educational resources, call for chapters for “Instructional Design: An Introduction and Student Guide” has been announced. There is also a possibility to submit an article to a special issue in Smart Learning Environments Journal: “Towards enhancing learning using open educational resources”.

Published Peer Review (community comments)

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In February, we asked researchers about the biggest change they hope to see in Open Science. Nearly 3,000 of you weighed in. Here’s what you had to say…

In May, we introduced published peer review history at PLOS, a modular approach to transparent peer review that invites to you choose the model that works best for you and your particular manuscript. Reviewers decide whether to sign their comments at submission. Accepted authors decide whether to publish peer review history alongside their manuscript. The whole community benefits from a deeper more nuanced view of the peer review process.

What is the community saying about peer review history

“[with] transparency in peer review … the process becomes more fair and clear and, above all, the result of scientific production is more collaborative and effective.”

– Leonardo A. Peyré-Tartaruga, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil


“I think signed peer review will help legitimize the peer review process as a scholarly output instead of a service commitment. It will also encourage researchers to participate in a more thoughtful process and can provide a valuable contribution to the study’s scientific record.”

Carrie Dolan, William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, United States of America

“[open peer review] improves auditability of the article itself and the journal’s processes and thoroughness…It also helps build public trust in the process by removing the mystery of secret academic peer review, as well as showing the robustness of the method in action.”

– Thomas Shafee, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

“Peer review is more essential and relevant today as it has ever been.  We are entering an era where there is limitless information with very limited means to understand it value. As a scientific community, we need to engage the public more often.  A part to this is helping them understand the peer review process and how it leads to the discoveries of tomorrow.”

Scott Pegan, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America

“Transparency in peer review may develop the quality of research and reduce research misconduct. So everyone can see clearly on the how, what, and why behind the editorial decision making. This is about trust, and trust is one of the important things in the scholarly publication.”

– Monika Oktora, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Groningen, The Netherlands

Sharing community and breaking the fast: CC Jordan’s 2019 Iftar

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Just last month, Muslims all over the world celebrated the holy month of Ramadan, the month of prosperity, sharing and spiritual healing. Since 2010, Arab world–based Creative Commons communities have celebrated Ramadan by organizing “Creative Commons Iftars” (CC Iftar) across the region.

A CC Iftar is a social event, organized by the CC chapter’s community members, where members gather to break the fast, share the table and food, engage in conversations and discuss innovation, technology, and their community’s role as a CC Chapter. The Iftars are built around the basis of CC’s vision of sharing and giving from the community to the community. The Iftar has different goals depending on the chapter’s priorities, but the main objective of the CC Iftar is to share a meal with the CC community, friends and partners.

At the CC Summit 2019, Lisbon, we organized a CC Iftar open to all Summit attendees. , During the Iftar, we dined and shared conversations. CC CEO Ryan Merkley joined us with a small word of gratitude, which made us feel more connected to the organization.

Following in these footsteps, here at CC Jordan, we held our CC Iftar on Thursday 30th.May.2019 (25th.Ramadan.1440). The main goals of the CC Iftar were to meet with the CC Jordan community, friends and partners, recap the latest updates, briefing about the CC Summit 2019 and discuss our future activities.

The community discussed the future activities with huge enthusiasm, members suggested to continue advocacy about Creative Commons and the use of the set of licenses, and the open culture wave around the world. Other members suggested to organize a CC Salon, preferably early September of this year.

Looking forward to our CC Salon? Wait for our updates and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Photos CC Jordan, CC BY 4.0

The post Sharing community and breaking the fast: CC Jordan’s 2019 Iftar appeared first on Creative Commons.

Spreading the Word: PLOS Advances Research Through Media Partnerships

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Last year, PLOS helped more than 2,300 articles receive media coverage in high-profile outlets including The New York Times, the BBC, National Geographic, Scientific American and The Washington Post. How do we do it? For starters, our press team sends out on average one press release per day, garnering the attention of the 1200 journalists on our press list, plus members of the media who haven’t heard of us yet.

But for us to make sure your research gets the recognition it deserves from other researchers, potential funders, and policy makers, our dedicated media team also leverages a robust network of partnerships to connect science and the media.

Science for non-scientists

Though all PLOS research is Open and accessible to everyone, many readers depend on journalists to distill complex scientific concepts for broader consumption. An important link in the transformation of Research Article to NY Times cover story are Science Media Centers (SMCs) which work with journalists to get the public access to the best scientific evidence and expertise.

Through SMCs, journalists can find “sources” or vetted experts in a given field to help add context to the research they’re reporting on. Some SMCs, such as SciLine, also offer fact sheets summarizing popular topics that have been reviewed and verified by experts.

We have been working with SMCs in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Germany for over a year, for example by providing information that helps SMCs spread the word about PLOS work even further. In Europe, we also collaborate with the European Science Media Hub, part of the European Parliament, whose work helps facilitate the transfer of knowledge and training between the European Parliament, the scientific community, and the media.

Our partnership with these organizations is also helping us to shape best practice for communicating research, especially for new scholarly outputs like preprints.

Leveraging your network and your expertise

Perhaps the best place to seek promotion and recognition for your work is your own institution. Already, we work with top-tier institutions such as MIT, Harvard University, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, the National Institutes of Health and more to help them promote the amazing research being done by their affiliated PLOS authors. We’re hoping to expand this program further, but even without formal partnership, we encourage all authors to contact their institution’s press office when their research is accepted for publication – your colleagues’ networks can be a huge asset to your career.

For authors who are keen to be hands-on in disseminating research, we also recommend contacting our partner Science Trends. This free platform allows authors to write their own “self-directed press release” in under 500 words which is then published on Science Trends and on social media to an audience of 500,000 followers. You can find more information on our website.

We’re dedicated to providing the best experience for our authors, pre and post-publication. We’ll continue innovating and promoting your work and we want you to feel empowered to do so as well. Check out our media toolkit for tips on publicizing your work, speaking to the media, and stepping up your social media game. Of course, our media relations team, Beth Baker and Charlotte Bhaskar, are always happy to help – contact them at onepress@plos.org.



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