This has been in the news for the last week or so. To me it suggests peer review is struggling to maintain its viability. Thee main scandal is a ring of people who manipulated the peer review system to support each others' works. I think personally that they are distinguished only by virtue of the fact that they were caught. Peer review is basically an insider's game. As if to underscore that, Nature Publishing Group has announced it will provide 'expedited' peer review for a fee. An editor has quit in response. "The flap shines a light on a fledgling industry where several companies are now making millions of dollars by privatizing peer review." Oh yeah, that will keep things honest! See also Retraction Watch, COPE Statement, Science. Via Academica.
Join the EDEN Community (video invitation) in the inspiring city of Barcelona to share your research, projects and practice at the 2015 EDEN Annual Conference - #EDEN15. Networking and interactivity, sharing and discussion will be core aspects of the conference experience, focusing on what you can learn from and with your peers.
In collaboration with:
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Magical and innovative - Barcelona, the City of Marvels:
Last year's #EDENRW8 - EDEN Research Workshop Rapporteur Tony Bates invited keynote speakers Pierre Dillenbourg and Cristobal Cobo to reflect on three key questions related to the MOOC and OER related hot topics of recent years' debates. Martin Weller, keynote speaker at the 2015 EDEN Annual Conference in Barcelona touches on the same issues in his pre-conference interview.
The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning – EURODL is an open-access peer-reviewed learned journal on distance and e-learning distributed on the Internet and indexed by ERIC, DOAJ, Cabells, EBSCO. The newly published full articles are:
Digiskills Teachers' Good Practice Videos, TALOE Webinars, CARER+ Final Conference, Open Discovery Space Summer School, LACE Learn Live events, many more news: read about latest research findings, newsletters and valuable events related to e-learning practices and applied ICT supported learning here. Currently running projects here.
Antonio Teixeira invited EDEN Vice-President Airina Volungeviciene to write us today's guest blog post. She recently represented EDEN at the “Mapping the European MOOC Territory” conference, held in Porto. Read the full posts as well as his previous and the former presidents's, Executive Committee members' blog posts at the President's blog.
Springer Science+Business Media and Jisc have agreed on a new arrangement which takes into account UK scientists’ need to comply with multiple funders’ open access policies and to have access to the vast library of scientific articles published by Springer, while containing the combined costs of article processing charges and subscriptions.
The proposed agreement will cap the amount paid by UK higher education (HE) institutions to subscribe and maintain full access to Springer’s high quality subscription journals and to make their researchers’ articles open access in those journals, the latter being in compliance with the requirements of HEFCE’s Research Excellence Framework, RCUK’s open access policy and other major funders such as the Charity Open Access Fund.
It is intended that the agreement will significantly reduce the cost and administration barriers to hybrid open access publishing for UK academic institutions, while supporting the transition to open access in a transparent and sustainable way.
Jisc and Springer first entered into negotiations in response to changes to the UK’s open access requirements in early 2014. Jisc supports education and research through digital services, and approached Springer with a clear mandate and objectives to contain the costs to UK institutions. Springer is committed to recognising and accommodating the needs of libraries, funders, universities and researchers.
Extensive discussions have been necessary to understand the needs and requirements of all stakeholders and to prepare a framework that could form the basis for a sustainable model of publishing in, and giving access to, Springer’s subscription journals. As a transformative model, the two organisations will engage in ongoing co-operation and assessment so that they can ensure the arrangement continues to meet UK HE institutions’ compliance needs as open access requirements evolve. Both parties have worked together in a constructive way, echoing the process and intention of the Finch Group.
Roné Robbetze, VP Sales Northwestern Europe and Africa, said:
“Springer is proud to work so closely with Jisc on this new direction in science publishing. The UK has taken a major step in further developing open access and we are happy to be the first to have such a far-reaching arrangement here.”
“Jisc sees the development of these models as essential in order to contain the total cost of ownership of scholarly communication. Springer has shown a deep understanding of the issue and contributed proactively in finding a model that addresses the needs of UK higher education institutions as they lead in the transition to open access.”
A new service enabling researchers to access their digital resources and applications through a single, federated sign-on is launching today thanks to Jisc.
A world-first, Assent, provided by Jisc, enables simplified, seamless and secure access to the broad range of web and non-web services that researchers commonly need – from cloud, email and file storage services, through to desktop login, high performance computing (HPC) facilities and secure data communications.
Assent uses the same open standards and open source software that underpin the two leading federated access services in global education and research: eduroam, the world-wide single sign-on roaming service, and the UK Access Management Federation, which provides web-only single sign on. It works by combining these technologies to provide a powerful and flexible access management solution appropriate to the needs of research.
There are significant benefits in adopting Assent for both institutions and their researchers.
Institutions benefit by reducing the number of credentials issued to each user, greatly reducing the administrative burden and cost. User identities are managed by the users’ home institutions, reducing the need to issue credentials to users from partner organisations.
For researchers, using Assent means they are able to seamlessly access the digital resources and applications they need to do their jobs, wherever it has been made available by a participating organisation.
Josh Howlett, head of trust and identity at Jisc said:
“Many institutions will already be using federated access in some form. Assent extends the use of this approach to a greater range of digital resources and applications, allowing them to consume a federated identity at minimal cost and effort.
“We know this to be of significant interest to research-intensive institutions, who will often be working across various applications and data sources, and regularly collaborating with others to improve research outcomes. We have already received a number of enquiries from organisations hoping to implement Assent in their own operations.”
Dr Jens Jensen, data services leader, from STFC's scientific computing department said:
“STFC holds tens of petabytes of science data. To make the most of this, researchers need to combine their own resources with those of other data centres and research facilities.
“Single sign-on is an important aspect underpinning this. As well as making it easier for end users to take advantage of the services we provide, it enables us to manage data permissions and to track the use and impact of publicly-funded data. Assent promises to provide an enhanced flexible and interoperable infrastructure, based on open standards, that will support STFC’s work with national and global partners. We look forward to exploring these new opportunities with Jisc and other participating organisations.”
Jisc is also advising other national research and education networks to explore the use of this technology globally, and is collaborating with its European partners to develop the geographical footprint required by our research communities.
QuoVadis will provide a variety of digital certificate types via the Janet certificate service, a centralised purchasing service for institutions that allows them to manage all of their online certification needs in one place.
QuoVadis’ offer includes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates for web encryption as well as certificates for authentication, secure email, and digital signatures.
New features of the service include:
Streamlined process allowing institutions to obtain certificates within minutes rather than days
Reduced number of touchpoints for the customer
Use of high assurance extended validation certificates as standard at no extra cost
Improved terms and conditions.
“QuoVadis is pleased to support Jisc and its community across the UK,”
said Simon Knight, QuoVadis managing director.
“QuoVadis has significant experience serving similar research and education communities in Europe and Oceania, and will leverage our international expertise in certificate authority operations to provide UK-based service and support to Jisc and its customers.”
Tim Kidd, executive director, Jisc technologies said:
“Cyber security is high on the agenda in this digital age, so being able to provide high assurance certification – and ensuring that these certificates can be purchased quickly, seamlessly, and without huge costs – is paramount.
The new QuoVadis service will streamline the process of obtaining certificates, saving institutions time and money, and increase the use of extended validation certificates at no extra cost.”
Founded in 1999, QuoVadis is a commercial certificate authority with operations in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Bermuda. In addition to being a leading provider of SSL/TLS certificates for the web, QuoVadis is a Qualified Certification Service Provider for legally-valid digital signatures in the EU, and is accredited by the EUGridPMA, which coordinates the trust fabric for e-Infrastructure for research in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
RCUK’s OA policy prefers researchers to use a gold OA model, asking for payment of an article processing charges (APC) at or soon after the point of acceptance.
Neil Jacobs, head of scholarly communications support, and part of the review panel comments:
“Jisc welcomes this review. As it comes at an early stage in the implementation of the OA policy there is currently only a limited amount of evidence, but it’s clear that Jisc is doing the right things to enable the sector to meet changing requirements.
The RCUK OA policy implies a huge change to the workflows associated with the journal supply chain and it will take time for universities, publishers, and others to embed them. The review tells us there are clear signs that this adaption is taking place, but also clear signs that considerable administrative burden remains on universities.
Nevertheless, I believe the answer is not for the Research Councils to turn away from universities as partners in the implementation of the policy, but to engage with them to get the infrastructure and workflows in place to make them work.”
As well as administrative burden the policy has caused to universities the review also mentions the impact on them of the absolute costs of paying APCs (the costs incurred when publishing an article). It states “further transparency on what is being paid in APCs by institutions to publishers will be crucial in helping to change behaviours and ease the transition towards open access”.
Other Jisc work that supports implementation of this policy includes:
Guide for publishers - to inform publishers about steps they can take to reduce the admin burden that features so strongly in the RCUK report.
Jisc Monitor - which is helping universities to keep track of publications, compliance with OA policies, and expenditure on APCs, allowing funders to see the impact of these policies and adapt them as needed
RIOXX - which provides the metadata for repositories required by RCUK
CASRAI pilot - working groups, including one focused on a fuller metadata profile to meet a wider range of funder reporting requirements
ORCID – an author identifier, specifically recommended by the report which allows a researcher, funder or university to search and find research outputs for an individual, helping them to meet the requirements
Total cost of ownership – Jisc is negotiating offset deals with many publishers to reduce the risk that costs to universities and funders rise massively as they pay both subscriptions and APCs during a transition period.
The report highlights that RCUK's open access policy is being implemented alongside the Research Excellence Framework OA policy, which states that articles should be deposited into a repository at the point of acceptance by a journal.
This dual establishment of policies has created both challenges and opportunities, the different approaches seeming to require researchers to establish multiple workflows. What they have in common, however, is that they demonstrate the importance of the point at which an article is accepted for publication by a journal – both policies encourage that this is now properly managed with universities.
However, the review did find that there is some confusion around these polices and what is required; Jisc is undertaking work to standardise the language used by research funders, universities and publishers in describing their OA policies.
We see this review as a positive step on the road to an OA world and looks forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders, including the new higher education institution practitioner group recommended by the report.
The event will feature a number of expert speakers, including Paul McKean, Jisc FE and skills customer advocate. Here, he talks to Gemma Ellis about how Jisc is supporting this move towards a blended offer and how colleges can take advantage of Jisc services.
In the recent article “Simulating Learning Networks in a Higher Education Blogosphere – At Scale“, Fridolin Wild and Steinn Sigurdarson introduce into a simulation model built from the iCamp trial data and educational model assumption: they wanted to see what would happen, if trials are scaled up an order of magnitude. The simulation results are [...]
One year after we succesfully went through iCamp project’s last official review, we are wirting down a new post for wellcoming a new version of our Handbook. This is the time for its Spanish version, issued by Win-Win Consultores, with the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Turism under its “avanza2” [...]
The iCamp partner AGH – the University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland, has published recently a Polish version of the iCamp handbook on how to use social software in education. Please click here to get the electronic version.
Since the iCamp experience was very successful in making use of new media for cross-cultural collaboration iCamp competes for the MEDEA Awards, respecively in the European Collaboration Award.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
We now received the final review report where our external reviewers commend us on our excellent work and our valuable contribution to European research in Technology Enhanced Learning.
Here are some quotes from the report, which can also be downloaded:
… In the opinion of the reviewers the products and outcomes of the project are of considerable [...]