Webinar 1 Open Science – an introduction

1 Webinar Slides

2 Poll results

1. What is your background?

Natural Sciences:  8

Social Sciences: 9

50:50 (cross-disciplinary):  1

Not a scientist but interested in OS:  1

2. What is your level of expertise regarding open science?

I know some basics about OS:   8

I know very little about OS:  14

I know a lot about OS:  0

3. Are you convinced by the arguments thus far presented about why OS is important?

Yes:  15

No:  3

4. Which of the arguments presented so far do you find more convincing?

A: Eases scientific collaborations:  3

B: Makes science more transparent and reproducible:  12

C: Supports data-driven decision-making:  2

D: Citation advantage effect:  4

5. If you are not convinced, what problems or caveats do you see?

A: Open Science cost me too much time and I don’t see clear rewards:  1

B: Open Science can encourage Predatory Publishing and low quality research:  4

C: Open Science allows people to steel my ideas:  4

D: Other:  2

3 Open Sciences Statement Video

An Open Science statement from colleagues from the Institute of Health and Nursing Sciences at the MLU was played during the webinar. Some users reported difficulties to see the video. If participants wish to see the video they can do so via the following link: https://uni:gsphrg@filer.itz.uni-halle.de/dl/1227/secure/2/Webinar_01.mp4 using the following authentication credentials: user: uni and password: gsphrg. This video will be available for viewing until the end of next week.

4 Questions raised by the audience

Q.1:  Even if I agree that OS makes science more transparent and reproducible, it also allows people to steel my scientific ideas

Q.2:  Where do you put the role of public engagement (lay communication) in OS discussion?

Q.3:  What about re-analyzation of data by others? I spend two years to generate the data and another year to analyse it. Others can skip the first two years and analyse my data in another way.

Q.4:  A big problem are the established scientific publishers, who often claim all rights for themselves. Are there any ideas?

Q.5:  If I found out someone stole scientific content from me, how would I fight it and would the copycat be forced to take their publication back?

Q.6:  I would love if we discuss about the plagiarism at some point.

Q.7:  I believe traditions differ much between countries. My supervisor says that basically nobody will take my work seriously if I publish my dissertation online and not in an established book series. In the Netherlands, people do not really care where you publish as long as you publish it somewhere.

Q.8:  Open Access journals are not synonymous with preprint journals, are they?

5 Speaker’s comments and references for further reading

Stealing of ideas and plagiarism

The stealing of ideas and plagiarism of published text is unfortunately a recurrent practice in science. If you make your research results available in Open Access mode, people could find it easier to “steel” your idea or data. But at the same time publishing in Open Science/Open Access will give you the opportunity to proof in a transparent way that you are the original author or data creator. You will have a persistent identifier with a date stamp to prove that you have published this idea or data first. So in case you find someone has stolen your data or idea, write to the editors of that journal and challenge the infringing author to proof the authenticity of their findings. Chances are, you will have found a predatory journal.

Have a look at these lists which gather information about predatory journals:


There are a number of very useful tools to check whether a text has been plagiarized. You can start with google scholar, if you have the feeling that someone has used wording you have written in a publication in a subsequent article, you can simply paste your text on google scholar’s advanced search and find it if other articles have used this text.

SimTexter is a tool for comparing texts between a source paper and a target paper plagiarism is suspected.

Here is an interesting article discussing this matter in the biomedical research: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11948-017-9964-5

Pre-prints vs. Open Access Journals

There are fundamental differences between a pre-print server and an Open Access Journal. The former is a server where you can upload a first draft of a manuscript of your paper without a peer-review process. Generally, there are no costs associated with uploading a manuscript in a preprint server. The idea is to be able to communicate your results in a fast way to your peers and colleagues. People use pre-prints to get feedback on a working project and to show preliminary results. In some disciplines, pre-prints are used to demonstrate that you were the first author to postulate a certain idea or hypothesis. Most publishers allow papers to be published to preprint servers before submission. So there is no harm in using pre-print servers. In comparison, the majority of Open Access journals will have a peer-review process just like a conventional journal, and critically, the majority of Open Access journals will request a publication fee, known as Article Publications Charge (APCs) towards publishing your articles. There are ways to get these APCs covered by your institutions. At the MLU there is a publications fund which is used to support the publishing in Open Access journals.

Examples of good preprints servers:



Publication funds of the MLU:  https://openscience.bibliothek.uni-halle.de/en/publikationsfonds/  

Involvement and the role of the wider public in science

The participation of the wider public in scientific activities is by no means a new idea, but the drastic improvement in the communication mechanisms, the availability of mobile devices, etc. have fast-tracked these developments in recent years. These activities are often regarded as citizen science. Citizen Science can take various forms and it is a fuzzy concept, but it is clear that the involvement of the wider public in scientific activities has many positive effects.

Further reading:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5jrs2f963zs1-en

Example of successful Citizen Science projects:



Specific benefits of open data

As a derivate of open science, open data has several benefits. It increases opportunities for scientific collaboration, it improves the transparency and accountability of science and it speeds the analytical capacity of researches, as in the example cited in question 3 in the webinar. Also discussed in the webinar is the positive impact of publishing in Open Access mode of the citation rates.  While the possibilities or Open Data are vast, there are a number of technological, cultural and legal challenges that need to be addressed.   

Further reading:


The Open Citation Effect:


Monopolization of scientific publishing by the big publishers

Major publishing houses have created a de facto monopoly by controlling access rights to their digital archives and also by reaping the benefits of their hybrid open access models, where they provide selected articles on selected journals in open access mode. This creates the so called double dipping effect where the publishing houses changes an author APCs to release their article in Open Access mode while at the same time selling the end product to libraries on a normal subscription bases.

To fight back or level out this situation many academic institutions have created alliances to jointly negotiate with these publishers to create Germany-wide licenses which allow open access to their resources. While some of these negotiations paid off resulting in deals with the publishers Wiley and Springer Nature, some others are still pending and have already resulted in a lack of access to their scientific literature in the case of Elsevier.

Further reading:

On the double dipping effect: https://www.openaire.eu/blogs/the-worst-of-both-worlds-hybrid-open-access

On Open Access transformation:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-017-0250-9

On the DEAL negotiations:  https://www.projekt-deal.de/about-deal/

Dr. Roberto Cozatl | Open Science Team | 25.09.2020

University and State Library of Saxony-Anhalt