Open Science is a key priority at the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS). BMS introduced a faculty Open Access Fund back in 2019. This OA fund was substantially expanded for 2022 due to its resounding success. The Faculty Board is also sponsoring the Diamond Open Access Journal currently being established by the Philosophy of Technology department. So, what does this mean for BMS researchers, and what is driving the faculty's efforts? Ellen Giebels, professor of psychology and vice-dean at BMS, explains.
'Scientific research is financed with public funds. That's why we believe the results should be accessible and transparent for everyone,’ she explains. 'We were getting a lot of questions, especially from PhD students and young assistant professors, who wanted to publish Open Access and were looking for funding to cover their Article Processing Charges (APCs). We also noticed there were some very prominent and interesting OA journals in our fields that weren't being covered by the existing VSNU Open Access publisher deals. We started by assessing whether there was really any need for a faculty-level OA fund. It soon became clear that the idea had a lot of potential. BMS is setting up the OA Fund to underline our commitment to Open Access. We also want to encourage debate on OA within the faculty and support UT's Open Access policy.
OA Fund facilitates publication of OA books
The OA Fund has already yielded some impressive results, as Giebels tells enthusiastically. 'Our researchers have been publishing more Open Access articles. Two Open Access books have also been published so far. I think that's valuable, because books tend to be written for a broader audience. One of those books is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration between several UT researchers, which is also great to see. We were getting a lot of applications, so the BMS OA Fund was always used up by the end of the year. That's why we decided to expand it this year, from €40,000 to €100,000 per year. The OA Fund also facilitates OA deals with publishers on a faculty level or in partnership with other faculties. For example, we signed an OA deal with a publisher for four OA journals together with the ITC Faculty.'
Researchers' views on Open Science
In 2020, BMS conducted a survey to learn about BMS researchers' views on Open Science and find out why some of them still aren't publishing in Open Access. 'Most of the 70 respondents agreed that Open Science principles such as Open Data and Open Access (OA) will be crucial to the future of our disciplines. Respondents mentioned the cost of APCs as one of the main hurdles, but it also became clear that some researchers still didn't know about the 100% discounts on APCs as part of the VSNU Open Access publisher deals or had their doubts about Open Access publishing in general. We made another effort to raise awareness of the VSNU (Universities of the Netherlands) deals and discussed the added value and benefits of OA publishing – such as better visibility and greater impact – at the various departments. As a result, a lot more researchers are now open to the idea. The younger generation is especially enthusiastic, but we haven't managed to get everyone on board yet.'
Automatic OA publishing with UT Research Information
Each year, BMS publishes an overview of the total number of OA articles published and the resulting top 5 research groups. 'So far, we've mainly been encouraging OA, but we are considering a more compulsory approach. The UT's new OA policy, whereby articles are automatically published in OA format through UT Research Information (Pure) within six months, has been well received by the Faculty of BMS. That's certainly encouraging, because this is making researchers' lives a lot easier. Giebels is also excited about promising new Open Science developments such as open peer review and pre-registration. 'Peer review processes at Open Access social science journals are increasingly open these days, and you're invited to publish your research data. It's nice to know who reviewed you, and the opportunity to examine the data is important in terms of research integrity.’
Encouraging and facilitating pre-registration
The BMS Faculty Board will be working to further encourage and facilitate pre-registration over the coming years. 'Unfortunately, pre-registration still isn't ingrained in our research process, and we want it to become something of a routine for BMS researchers. We're considering linking pre-registration to the ethics review application. We need to make sure that doesn't create more workload for researchers, so we're looking to organise a support network consisting of data stewards, the research support coordinator, and the information specialist.’
As far as Giebels is concerned, disclosing your research hypothesis at the start of your project through pre-registration is a rather elegant approach. 'A growing number of social science journals now exclusively publish articles based on pre-registration and are also publishing 'non-significant' results. That's a great development, because social science researchers basically only ever used to publish research with significant results. That's bad for science as a whole!'
Carefully consider your application criteria
Giebels recommends that any faculties looking to set up their own OA Fund start by carefully considering the most suitable application criteria. 'We had a lot of questions at the start, like: 'How do you assess the quality of the OA journals?' and 'How many times a year should a BMS researcher be allowed to apply to the BMS-OA fund?' We decided that any articles sponsored by the fund had to be published in an open access journal registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals. We didn't set any limits on the maximum number of applications by BMS researchers.'
Diamond Open Access journal
BMS is also sponsoring the Journal for Human-Technology Relations: a new Diamond Open Access journal currently being established in Open Journal Systems by Professor of Philosophy Peter-Paul Verbeek and Society & Technology project manager Michelle de Boer in collaboration with the University Library. The new interdisciplinary journal combines social science and technology, seamlessly aligning with the BMS faculty's mission.
Diamond Open Access journals are freely accessible to everyone, and authors are not required to pay an APC. 'That makes it expensive to set up a Diamond OA journal. It costs about €40,000 a year. However, we believe it's important, because authors from countries where universities have fewer resources than we do can't always publish in the Gold OA journals due to APC costs. We'll be sponsoring this OA-Diamond initiative for three years, and then we'll do an evaluation.'
As Giebels explains, a considerable number of BMS researchers are currently active in the Open Science Community Twente launched by the ITC Faculty. 'That's actively encouraged by the faculty. Finally, BMS is also participating in a recent national initiative aimed at establishing full open access to the ESB platform. We're supporting the effort with an annual financial contribution.'
Got any questions about Open Access?
- the information specialist at your faculty; or
- the central OA specialist at the UT Digital Competence Centre.