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18 May 2020

Opening science at Charles University

How to ensure that really everyone has access to the results of publicly funded projects, research articles and other scientific information? - That information can be shared and freely disseminated regardless of journal subscriptions or affiliation with a research institution? The answer to these questions is offered by the model of scholarly communication and an initiative called open access, the agenda of which has been strategically developed by the newly established Open Science Support Centre at Charles University since January 2020.

Although open access is currently still only an alternative to the traditional publishing model, its importance is growing, and it is receiving increasing attention at the institutional, national and international levels. Authors are attracted not only by the wide information impact and greater visibility of their research work, which open access brings, but also by the acceleration of scholarly communication, support of information sharing and thus the democratization of access to them.

Authors from Charles University are no exception to this trend. According to data from the international database Web of Science retrieved on 17 April 2020, out of the total number of 3,826 published articles between 2018 and 2019, approximately 40% are available in the open access mode. Traditionally, the most “open” fields include particle and nuclear physics, astronomy and astrophysics, and biochemistry with molecular biology. Due to the fact that there is no mandatory open access policy at Charles University, the authors are driven to publish in the open access mode either by their own motivation and beliefs or by the requirements of financial providers.

Not surprisingly, the central theme is financing of the publication fees (article processing charges, APCs). Thanks to subscriptions to electronic resources with some publishers, Charles University authors have the opportunity to use vouchers or discounts on APCs, namely with American Chemical Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Karger Publishers, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, and MDPI. You can find an up-to-date overview of discounts on publication fees on the website of the Central Library.

Open access is an initiative that requires a change in the publishing behavior, as well as building an infrastructure in research institutions. For this purpose, the Open Science Support Centre at the Central Library of Charles University was established at the beginning of 2020. Its main purpose is to offer authors from Charles University methodological assistance in publishing, i.e., it assists in choosing a suitable open journal or repository, advises on how to assess the credibility of the selected journal (whether it is a so-called "predator") and also helps to orientate in publishing licensing conditions. To provide authors with support corresponding to field specifics, the Centre coordinates a network of faculty open access coordinators across faculties who know the specific practices of scientific communities. It also offers tailor-made lectures that can be included in teaching. If you are interested in such a lecture, contact us.

In order for the activities of the Centre to really reflect what the authors from Charles University want and need, a questionnaire of the OA needs of the scientific community at Charles University was created. By completing it, you will contribute to the development and implementation of open access support tools, and you will help the Centre to properly address the needs and its agenda at Charles University.

Open Science Support Centre

Established on 1 January 2020 as a new department under the Central Library of Charles University. The tasks of the workplace are:

  • Fulfil tasks related to the project Strategic development of science and research capacities and strengthening of the international competitiveness of Charles University and the Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Strategy of the Czech Republic's Open Access to Scientific Information for 2017–2020

  • Provide central methodological support in the field of open access and research data management at Charles University

  • Coordinate and support the network of faculty coordinators of open access at Charles University

  • In cooperation with the Computer Science Centre, ensure the operation and develop the Digital Repository of Charles University

  • In cooperation with other departments of Charles University, define and develop strategic goals of open science at Charles University

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