Palaeontology and Open Science news roundup: June 15th, 2018

Welcome to your usual weekly roundup of vaguely interesting stuff that happened in the last week! Enjoy, and let me know if I’ve missed anything out. Previous week.

Palaeontology news

  • Hechenleitner et al: Biomechanical evidence suggests extensive eggshell thinning during incubation in the Sanagasta titanosaur dinosaurs.
  • Royer et al: A Brief Note on the Presence of the Common Hamster during the Late Glacial Period in Southwestern France.
  • Saitta et al: Experimental subaqueous burial of a bird carcass and compaction of plumage.
  • Rashid et al: Avian tail ontogeny, pygostyle formation, and interpretation of juvenile Mesozoic specimens.
  • Benton et al: The Carnian Pluvial Episode and the origin of dinosaurs.
  • Jones et al: Neutron scanning reveals unexpected complexity in the enamel thickness of an herbivorous Jurassic reptile.
  • Xing et al: The earliest direct evidence of frogs in wet tropical forests from Cretaceous Burmese amber.
Photograph images of four fossil frog specimens referred to Electrorana (Xing et al., 2018).

Open Science News

  • Eriksson: Offsetting; No big deal?
    • A useful overview of ‘offsetting agreements’ between research funders and scholarly publishers, with a case study from Sweden. Frankly, the offsetting should be 100% of the cost with all funds reinvested into sustainable, non-profit, community owned ventures. Libraries and research funders have wasted enough money on bloating publishers already.
  • The institutionalised racism of scholarly publishing – Ryan Regier.
    • Powerful piece, really worth a read. Especially for those who are concerned with ‘predatory publishing’.
  • Incredible work from the CORE team for becoming the world’s largest aggregator – 131 million scientific records!
  • Johnson: Cultural, ideological and practical barriers to open access adoption within the UK Academy: an ethnographically framed examination.
    • “While the greatest problems perceived relate to academic intellectual disengagement or indifference to publishing praxis change, no singular cause of resistance was identified. The study reveals practitioners’ perceptions of a multiplicity of operational, technological and ideological barriers blocking progress, and consequently a picture of academic engagement remaining disappointingly patchy.” A really critical read here.
  • Top universities’ journal subscriptions ‘average £4 million’ – Times Higher Education.
  • Lauren Maggio: Can Your Doctor See the Cancer Research Reported in the News? Can you?
    • “The blocked NEJM breast cancer article was not a fluke. For our sample, over 60% of the articles were behind paywalls. This number goes up slightly, to 63% for the articles that are mentioned in 50 or more news stories.” Sigh.
  • The EU is no longer going to support publishing in hybrid journals! This is huge, but must be matched by eliminating journal-based criteria from research assessments.
  • Over 80% of research outputs meet requirements of REF 2021 open access policy – Research England. Whoop!

Stuff I’ve done

  • Published this new editorialGeoscience Communication – Building bridges, not walls; with Sam Illingworth, Iain Stewart and Kirsten von Elverfeldt.
  • Joined the Advisory Board of Generation R, a new platform for exploring new ways to do research.
  • Handled this paper as Editor, which is now open to public discussion: The measurement of knowledge transfer, by Thomas von Clarmann.
  • Lots of nice updates to the new Open Science MOOC website.

Other cool stuff

  • Sexual harassment is rife in the sciences, finds landmark US study – Nature News.

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