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PLOS Appoints Alison Mudditt Chief Executive Officer

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PLOS is pleased to announce the appointment of Alison Mudditt as its Chief Executive Officer, effective June 19, 2017.  For the past six years Mudditt served as Director of University of California Press (UC Press) where she ushered in new strategies to lead the company into the digital age, including the innovative journal and monograph Open Access programs Collabra and Luminos. Prior to UC Press, Mudditt was Executive Vice President at SAGE Publications, Inc., leading publishing programs across books, journals and digital platforms. Her 25 plus years in the publishing industry include leadership positions at Blackwell Publishers in Oxford, UK, and Taylor & Francis Inc., in Philadelphia, US. Mudditt received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Bath and her Masters in Business Administration from The Open University.

“PLOS is truly privileged to bring on board a person of Alison’s caliber whose extensive experience in and deep knowledge of academic publishing will invigorate a renewed focus on our mission—transforming research communication to better serve authors, readers and the public,” said Gary Ward, Chairman of the Board at PLOS. “Her history and accomplishments as a leader, coalition builder and strategic thinker for organizations experiencing change is impressive and will prove very valuable to PLOS in the years ahead.”

“I am delighted to join a like-minded publisher in PLOS, which fully embraces the Open Access principles that drive its mission,” said Mudditt. “PLOS’ long-held reputation as a change agent in this industry provides a tremendously gratifying challenge as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in scientific publishing.”

Beyond Slogans: After the March for Science Has Passed

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“Science and democracy are logical allies, they both flourish with an open network of ideas, evidence and an uncompromising examination of results.” – Cindy Schaffer, former microbiologist with the Environmental Protection Agency

Clever slogans, such as “May the Facts Be with You” or “There Is No Planet B” flourished at the Earth Day March for Science as scientists and supporters of science around the globe chanting “Less Invasions More Equations” and “All Six American Nobel Prize Winners Last Year Were Immigrants” took to the streets demanding attention to the tangible impact of science on humans “Do You Have Polio? Thank A Scientist” and the environment “Ice Has No Agenda, It Just Melts.”

It is powerful for scientists and science-based organizations to show how important scientific facts are to everyday life, irrespective of political alignment, but what happens to this momentum after the collective advocacy effort has passed? What difference does it make, many have asked, and what role should each of us play, considering daily professional and personal commitments and demands on our attention and time. These are the issues faced by every social movement in search of long-lasting tangible impact.

Science Not Silence

The official slogan of March for Science, “Science Not Silence,” is a phrase that has potential to propel advocacy beyond the day of the march. “Because the results of scientific research benefit our everyday lives, we have taken for granted that science would be a vital, respected part of discussions about societal issues that impact health, the environment, technology and other science-based issues,” says Erika Shugart, Executive Director at the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB).

“This is no longer the case. If science is not represented and advocated for, then it will be ignored or, even worse, replaced by discredited information,” she continues. “We can no longer be silent and assume science will be at the table, we must stand up for science.”

“My interpretation [of “Science Not Silence”] is that we need to use science and evidence-based scientific results to inform government policy and that we, as scientists, need to speak up about our research rather than staying silent,” says Elizabeth Blaber, Visiting Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. “More often than not, scientists get caught up in their research, writing grants and publishing papers; we forget that our results can really make a difference to the general population. We can use our results to help inform policymakers about important decisions that they need to make about climate policy, research funding, health care policies and the next step for NASA’s human exploration endeavors,” she says.

Blaber cites the unique insight scientists working as government contractors have into government science and the bureaucracy of government agencies. “Science not silence means education to us, educating policymakers on the importance of each scientific study that is being conducted in and outside of government agencies and how these studies collectively make all of our lives better in an unimaginable number of ways.”

Beyond the March

How we harness the excitement and momentum of the march and translate that into action is not a single solution for each scientist or scientific discipline. “When you ask ‘what next?’ that’s when I run into difficulty,” says Dan Schaffer, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Research Software Engineer. “We can march every week all day long but in the end, there are far more important and difficult decisions we have to make if we are to do something significant about the issue of climate change, for example.” For some scientists, this means bringing scientific evidence into daily habits (and convincing others to do the same). “Here in Prius driving, solar panel powered Boulder, Colorado, folks like to talk about what we’re doing about climate change.” Yet some of these same climate scientists “fly as far as Australia for climate change conferences,” he says. “One round trip from Denver to London is equivalent to driving one of those Prius 9,000 miles. That trip to Sydney? 16,000 miles.”

Individual behavioral changes can, collectively, make an impact. March for Science provides easy opportunities on their Week of Action page. For example, by clicking on ‘Science Connects Saturday’ (available everyday) you can send an email to your representatives just by filling in a few form fields. The relevant representative is determined automatically by your zip code entry. ‘Science Discovers Monday’ leads to suggestions for game night fun, science-style.

For some, follow up from the March for Science means being more open and emphatic, publicly, about what is evidence-based science and what is not. “As a former microbiologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, it disheartens me to hear that we have to prove that science matters,” says Cindy Schaffer. “The more active we, as scientists, can be in promoting real science,” she continues, “the better chance we will have for the false news to remain false in the general public’s mind.”

The message “Science Is Nonpartisan” took to the streets as a demonstration of “This Is What Democracy Looks Like.” These slogans call out for participation of the public in open, honest and constructive discussion. Says ASCB’s Shugart, “It is up to scientific societies and other organizations to help harness this energy to be a force for good in our communities.” Several organizations make it easy to participate, as we choose, in the democratization of science. Visit the PLOS Stand Up for Science page to learn how; email communications@plos.org if your professional association or society is taking action and wants to be listed on Stand Up for Science.

 

Image Credit: Bob Hemstock

NDLA technology reused by 8000 websites worldwide

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Over the last couple of years, the NDLA team have been working to replace Flash based applications and interactive learning objects. NDLA also needed a tool to make it easy to create, share and reuse HTML5 content and applications. We started developing a new tool in public-private partnership with Joubel, a tech startup in Tromsø, in the northern part of Norway. This collaboration ended up as a project and product called H5P.

H5P is at the time of writing installed on over 8,000 websites. H5P is reused by many universities, large companies and smaller personal websites worldwide. It´s great to see this kind of reuse and in the long run, this will make the platform more sustainable, also for NDLA.

The team developing and designing H5P have been set up with the best product developers from NDLA and designers and developers from Joubel. This kind of public-private partnership is essential to NDLAs innovation process.

In H5P, all you need is a web browser and a website with an H5P plugin. H5P empowers creatives to create rich and interactive web experiences more efficiently.

H5P is a free and open source tool that helps you create HTML5 content in the browser of your choice and share it across all operating systems and browsers. Check out the list of different content types.

As H5P is open source there are no “strings attached”. Anyone can reuse both content and technology without asking Joubel or NDLA for permission. One of the universities that have reused H5P is Colorado.

How to use H5P?

H5P is a plugin for existing CMS and Learning Management Systems (LMS) systems like WordPress and Drupal. Just install the H5P and your system becomes able to create, share, and reuse great interactive content. For systems that don’t have an H5P plugin available yet it is possible to embed content using an iframe or using the Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) standard. With the LTI and supporting APIs and specifications embedding an externally hosted H5P authoring tool is also possible.

The H5P format is open and the tools for creating H5P content are open source. This guarantees that creatives own their own content and are not locked into the fate and licensing regime of a specific tool.

 

2.5 million Wikipedia volunteers have contributed 42.5 million articles in 294 languages.

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The release of the 2016 State of the Commons, is an annual deep dive into the global community working to promote the open and free internet. The report covering 2016 was released at the CC global summit in Toronto this weekend. I attended the conference and spoke on a panel Friday.

This year’s report goes beyond data and metrics to focus on the people that power the commons in every region of the world. These stories illustrate how our movement is growing and evolving, driven by people who choose to share. The commons continues to grow, with the total number of CC licensed works now at 1.2 billion in 2016, including the increased use of licenses that invite remix, commercial use, and collaboration — up to 65% of all content shared this year.

The commons is the largest collection of free and open knowledge in the world. In order to bring you this report, we’ve partnered with a handful of the hundreds of platforms that provide CC licensing to bring you more data and user spotlights in a new and attractive format.

The king of the commons is still Wikipedia. The world’s largest encyclopedia is completely collaborative and openly licensed, with 100% of Wikipedia articles under CC BY-SA. To date, ~2.5 million Wikipedia volunteers have contributed 42.5 million articles in 294 languages.

The number of works released under a CCO is also growing, the total number is now just shy of a 100 million. One of the contributors is The New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art releases 375,000 digital works into the public domain via CC0.

African Storybook is a project that we are collaborating with over the next years. On a continent where conventional publishing produces relatively few titles in African languages, the African Storybook initiative provides open access to thousands of picture storybooks for children’s literacy, enjoyment, and imagination.

This work is a derivative work of Creative Commons blog on Medium used under a CC BY 4.0 license.

Progress and Challenges for Neglected Tropical Diseases: An Anniversary Assessment

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This year PLOS celebrates the 10th anniversary of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases (PLOS NTDs). The festivities are off to an impressive start with a strong presence at the 2017 NTD Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, a 10th Anniversary Collection, a blog post outlining anniversary launch activities and a PLOS NTDS 10th Anniversary landing page that will be updated throughout the celebration.

But what, exactly, are NTDs? They are a diverse group of communicable diseases that flourish in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries, costing developing economies billions of dollars every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). NTDs mainly affect populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors, domestic animals and livestock. In addition to causing mortality, NTDs remain an impediment to poverty reduction and socioeconomic development (WHO). Approximately 1.2 billion people globally have their quality of life and economic productivity diminished by NTDs.

In this context, however, there has been tremendous progress in the past five years. “For some diseases we’re ahead of our 2020 targets,” says Dirk Engels, Director, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. WHO, Uniting to Combat NTDs and the NTD community collaborated to host the recent 2017 NTD Summit celebrating the 5th year since the signing of the London Declaration, a collaborative disease eradication program inspired by the WHO 2020 roadmap to eradicate or negate transmission for at least ten NTDs.

Partnering with summit organizers and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PLOS NTDs – on the occasion of its 10th anniversary – co-hosted a uniting to combat NTDs panel at the summit with PLOS NTDs co-Editor-in-Chief Peter Hotez and PLOS Executive Editor Veronique Kiermer as moderators. The panel brought together experts on lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminth infection and schistosomiasis. Panelists from the National Institute for Medical Research, United Republic of Tanzania; University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka; and the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, People’s Republic of China participated in an engaging discussion of science and operational research in disease-endemic countries.

Published in parallel with the panel, the Symposium article “Partnering to Promote Research Where It Matters” focuses on capacity-building efforts and the positive impact of Open Access scientific literature for those working in disease-endemic countries. In China, “We work together on issues like health education, behavior change, and communication skills,” says panelist Xiao-Nong Zhou, Director of the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Our university could only afford a very restricted number of titles,” says Nilanthi de Silva, parasitologist at the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka. PLOS NTDs (and other Open Access journals publishing NTD-related research) offers an essential venue for researchers in low- and middle-income countries. Of the papers published to date, 25% have at least one author from Africa and 23% have an author from South America.

It is possible that nearly half of the current NTDs could be eliminated, eradicated or show significant gains in these directions within the decade. That would take continued dedication, and funding. “The last decade has seen a mixed picture when it comes to success stories in the progress to control or eliminate the world’s NTDs,” acknowledge PLOS NTDs Editors-in-Chief Serap Aksoy and Peter Hotez. According to David Molyneux, Emeritus Professor Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and lead of their overarching Neglected Tropical Diseases program, “The future is going to be about building capacity for NTDs and recognizing that we’re talking about a broader problem of sustainable development.”

In the Tenth Anniversary Collection, Editorial Board members examine this progress in 20 of the major NTDs over the last decade. Those familiar with these diseases, those wanting a comprehensive overview or those wanting to focus on a specific disease will find in the collection reflections on significant lessons and successes as well as remaining challenges. The collection lays out a roadmap for future research priorities and identifies key opportunities for further progress in disease elimination. The Editorial by Aksoy and Hotez, “PLOS NTDS: Ten Years of Progress in Neglected Tropical Disease Control and Elimination…More or Less, provides an excellent introduction to the PLOS NTDs Tenth Anniversary Collection.

PLOS NTDs was founded to represent the needs of a community of scientists, public health experts and global advocates working on diseases of the poor and simultaneously to be a capacity-building tool for disease experts living and working in Africa and other disease-endemic regions of the world. Since founding, the journal has published over 4,700 articles (Research Articles, Editorials, Viewpoints, Policy Platforms, From Innovation to Application articles and more) written by more than 8,000 authors. Currently 40% of the journal’s 255 editorial board members are from disease-endemic countries. For more details of the journal’s history and impact over the past ten years, see the Editorial, “The PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Decade.”

Journal editors and staff have worked diligently on its dual mission to build capacity and encourage the submission and publication of the work of authors living and conducting research in disease-endemic countries. Editors have hosted 26 writing workshops in affected countries around the globe and provide training on best practices to ensure robust peer review, avoid plagiarism, handle data management and address other issues of research integrity. They also cover tips on crafting comments to authors and editing decision letters. These activities build a strong NTDs community to ensure ongoing success of the journal and scientific endeavors related to NTDs research.

So bookmark the 10th Anniversary landing page, browse the 10th Anniversary Collection and celebrate 10 years of advancing research, policy and progress in combatting NTDs. There’s more work to be done!

 

Image Credit:

Emma Burns, A Ray of Hope

Open Data Projects Win Wellcome Trust, NIH and HHMI Open Science Prize

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“Scientists can do much more with their own data if things are shared publicly and shared publicly quickly in order to have potential for real world impact.” -Trevor Bedford, lead of the Open Science Prize winning team.

The Open Science Prize, a new initiative from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Wellcome Trust, encourages and supports open science approaches that generate benefit to society, advance research and spur innovation. An integral component of the selection process is demonstrated use and generation of open data, so PLOS is proud that this year’s winner of the Open Science Prize is PLOS author and evolutionary, computational biologist Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Finalists for the prize are also PLOS authors, including Michael Bamshed’s team, featured in a blog post for Rare Disease Day; Aurel Lazar’s and Ann-Shyn Chiang’s team, for the Fruit Fly Brain Observatory and Ben Goldacre’s team, for OpenTrialsFDA.

These scientists and their teams are making sure that open content – from publications, datasets, code and other research outputs – are discovered, accessed and reused. Bedford and his team won the prize for development of nextstrain.org, a website that integrates shared, open sequence data from global research teams into a model for real-time tracking of virus evolution. This provides the larger community a powerful graphic tool to facilitate pathogen surveillance and epidemiological investigations.

Open Data Tool Accelerates Policy and Research

In an interview discussing the value of open science approaches, Bedford spoke about open data, attribution, licensing and his experience in using preprints to support a publication strategy that releases data quickly while providing peer-reviewed citations for himself, his international collaborators and his postdocs and students.

One of the three final criteria in judging for the award is the level of demand and utility demonstrated by the proposed service or tool. This criterion worked in favor for nextstrain.org, as the team works with viral sequence data, made publicly available, to infer transmission patterns and evolutionary dynamics. Over the course of the last 15 years, according to Bedford, methods have gotten to a good place. Most recently, “fast genomic turnaround times means more actionable information is possible. This has created a powerful situation during outbreaks, where context is needed for robust conclusions, so investigators are willing to share data,” says Bedford. “We need to put datasets together for comprehensive inferences about what is going on,” he continues.

In creating the nextstrain.org website, Bedford wanted to do something useful that wouldn’t be construed as scooping other people’s data for a publication. He sees the website as a good way to provide value to the community and work with other labs’ data, yet not be perceived as wanting to make a claim of ownership in the same way as a preprint or published paper would. Those involved in the project are committed to use and reuse of properly attributed pre- and post-publication data that is out there and referenceable.

What gives Bedford’s collaborators their intellectual property claim? “I admit this is a wild west at the moment for sequence data,” he says. Many researchers deposit sequences in GenBank before publication “but fear that it is not clear this is prepublication data,” he adds (GenBank doesn’t have these type of settings). Scientists also post data to lab websites or GitHub with caveats that the data is prepublication; his website uses all these sources. Sequences posted with GitHub are immediately incorporated with sources notified of data use.

When asked if everyone is a believer in open data and if there were instances when he encountered resistance or hesitancy to share data, Bedford replied they use whatever people want to share. He has noticed a positive trend in the sharing ethos, however. During the time of the Ebola outbreak there was a significant lag that by the time of Zika was less so. The publisher agreement, signed by PLOS and others, to make data rapidly and openly available helped in this area, he believes. “The requirement for sequence data to be deposited in GenBank or otherwise made publicly available at the time of manuscript submission, not publication, contributes to research reproducibility,” says Bedford. PLOS, through its own sequence deposition policies and partnerships for enhanced methods reporting, continually works to strengthen these issues.

For some, the Open Access, Open Science community needs to do a better job of showcasing the value of this more transparent and open way of doing science, from bench to publication and beyond. Thus far there has been positive engagement with the World Health Organization for influenza vaccine strain selection via the related tool, nextflu.org (eventually slated to migrate to the nextstrain website).  Bedford envisions three audiences that would make practical use of his team’s open data tool:

  • Those performing viral sequencing or using sequence data, as a useful platform to compare and share data
  • Those involved in outbreak responses, as a tool to understand data, transmission patterns and strain evolution
  • Researchers or others interested in characterization of mutants and the ability to look at historical mutations
Publishing and License Choice

Bedford has an integrated publication strategy for his lab and work that best uses the various venues available. He publishes in a mix of Open Access and paywalled journals, creates webtools, deposits datasets and posts preprints. One strategy is to publish a statistical model or methods article, develop the model into a website or webtool and link to the website in published articles (rather than embedding JavaScript for the tool directly into the article).

He likes the pattern of building an ecosystem around a work: post a preprint with links to published/released genomes, update the preprint with new data or analysis and then submit that paper for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. This allows his team to capture the whole chain of research and progress, establishing provenance of credit along the way. Concerns of datasets posted on GitHub or GenBank getting scooped are similar to the scooping concerns surrounding the preprint server conversation. Helping people understand they’re putting an intellectual claim on their data (or paper) with posting has ameliorated, but not eliminated, those concerns.

Those using source code to develop tools for Open Science have several choices in licensing. For smaller projects, Bedford prefers the MIT license (also used for code developed at PLOS that is released as Open Source) which provides free and unlimited use and reuse rights, provided attribution is made clear. Other projects of his, including nextstrain.org, are released to the public under a GNU General Public License (GPL). This license provides that anyone using the source code to generate a derived product must, in turn, make that product open source. In other words, if a commercial entity adopts his open source code, that company must provide their code open source as well. The license status is essentially inherited and passed down to the next generation of product together with the code. One benefit of choosing the less restrictive MIT license, similar to CC BY for published articles, is maximum reuse without restriction.

Congratulations to all finalists of the Open Science Prize, sharing their work and data for the benefit of basic science, translational research and global public health.

 

Image Credits: The Open Science Prize, nextstrain

Protocols.io Tools for PLOS Authors: Reproducibility and Recognition

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Solutions to the challenges of reproducibility in experimental science should be as diverse as the challenges themselves. Inconsistent reagents, barriers to the open sharing of supporting data, experimental variation that goes unrecorded and researcher’s concerns for lack of recognition and credit for novel and meticulously created experimental methods all contribute to the challenges of reproducibility in biomedical research.

PLOS now partners directly with protocols.io to provide authors better ways to share methodological details about their work, practical tools to reduce wasted research efforts and persistent, citable identifiers for laboratory methods. For PLOS, this is a step forward on commitments to address reproducibility and provide improved recognition and credit for all contributions to a work.

“We are delighted to be associated with a like-minded partner such as PLOS,” says protocols.io CEO Lenny Teytelman. “We are aligned in our Open Access ethos, and we strive to facilitate the communication of research in an effective, accessible and reusable way.”

This new offering complements PLOS’ already robust data availability policy, requiring that data underlying the conclusions of an article be made available at the time of publication. Since the strengthening of this policy in 2014, about 60,000 articles have been published that contain a Data Availability Statement.

“We are excited to engage with protocols.io,” says PLOS Executive Editor Veronique Kiermer. “This is another step towards Open Science, facilitating access not only to the data but now also to the laboratory methodology that generated these data.”

How It Works

Researchers are encouraged, at their discretion, to deposit their laboratory protocols on the protocols.io site, obtain a unique DOI and link directly to these from the Methods section of their articles. The unique link allows reviewers and editors access to the protocols during peer review. At the time of publication, the partnership between PLOS and protocols.io ensures that links to and from the published article are established and protocols are automatically made publicly available under a CC BY license for anyone to access, use and cite.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002538

 

Archived and linked permanently to and from the article, protocols become part of the scientific record. The protocols.io application allows scientists to create, copy, modify and evolve laboratory protocols, describing the critical details of experimental procedures that are often overlooked in articles Methods sections. While detailed steps in a protocol may evolve and improve over time, the version that relates to the published article remains accessible to help explain experimental nuances.

“Methods sections that describe laboratory experiments are narratives that tend to omit subtle variations that may affect the experiments,” says Kiermer. “I hope that scientists will take up the opportunity to describe their methods in a way that is much more useful to others.”

Nuanced methodological details can be shared in new ways, that in time can integrate seamlessly into the research cycle, from bench to publication and back. “It is not merely a tool for publication,” says Teytelman, “it can be useful as a lab tool, at the bench, for record keeping and for sharing expertise within and outside a laboratory.”

Engaged commenting on the protocols.io website allows interested readers to clarify and discuss deeper with others using an article’s methodology. “This partnership will improve reproducibility of published research while fostering scientists’ collaborative engagement with our content,” adds Kiermer.

A DOI for methods, citable by others, provides more granular credit to those individuals contributing to methodological development. It also enables researchers to compare methodological details between laboratories pursuing similar approaches or between published experimental methods and those subtly revised by users. In this respect, protocols.io helps bridge an information gap between published experimental methods and methods refined over time.

PLOS looks forward to authors’ participation in this novel approach to enhancing Methods sections—an Open Access tool to record and share detailed protocols. We hope you try it and let us know your experience via comment below or email to communications@plos.org.

 

Hero image inset credit (CC BY): Bandage plot of transcripts assembled by J. Mamrot

Early Career Researchers and Forbes 30 Under 30 Innovators Have What It Takes

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This post is part one of a two-part blog series. Visit the PLOS ECR Community for part two.

In advance of the third Early Career Researcher Travel Award Program launching today, PLOS reached out to recipients of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Healthcare and Science who were also PLOS authors at the time of the awards (scroll down on the Forbes pages to see individual honorees). Five leading Early Career Researchers (ECRs) working in genetics, pathogens, virology and the intersection of medicine and policy shared their views with PLOS on Open Access, open data and communicating scientific results. Below are their responses that we hope will inspire and motivate ECRs in all disciplines. At the end of this post, PLOS Medicine Chief Editor Larry Peiperl specifically responds to the importance of data sharing and publishing all valid results.

When asked, “Do you and your colleagues discuss publishing in Open Access journals, or making data openly available?” these stellar scientists replied:

As a computational group, we rely almost exclusively on publicly available datasets. Making data openly available is critical to moving science forward, and it’s really frustrating that it is still far from ubiquitous. But I think we need to go even a step forward, and make all parts of publications, including the code and pipelines, easily available as well. I have been actively involved in discussions about why and how to do this. Luckily, I think the field of human genomics has been quite pioneering in moving toward a more “open” culture. Among my colleagues, it is just assumed that everyone puts their papers on preprint servers as soon as they’re submitted. We give people a hard time if their data is not available. Increasingly, software is getting posted on github or similar repositories. Unfortunately, this is not the case in every field. —Melissa Gymrek, Assistant Professor, UC San Diego. Read Gymrek’s work in PLOS ONE.

 

It’s incredibly important for data to be shared in a way that promotes collaboration and the advancement of knowledge. I think in general the more diverse ways you can examine a problem, or a data set, the more likely you are to reach surprising and meaningful conclusions. As biomedical researchers, our major goal should always be to improve human health, and open access seems to be an essential part of that effort. —Carrie Cowardin, Postdoctoral fellow, Washington University. Read Cowardin’s work in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

 

 

Making data openly available is an approach we highlight and discuss in our recent analysis of alternative mechanisms of research and development on our Re:route microsite. Open data platforms are one way we can make biomedical R&D help more people, by increasing scientific discovery output, sharing negative results, increasing competition and decreasing the cost of medicines, vaccines and diagnostics. This model is already being used to some extent by Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), among others. But it is not enough. This has to be implemented more broadly. —Gloria Tavera, President of the board, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. Read Tavera’s work in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

When asked, as one of the new generation of influencers in their respective fields, what changes do they foresee or would like to see related to the way research findings make their way to the greater scientific community, these innovators described preprints, linked data and code, the role of politics in the direction of scientific research and new forms of media as communication tools.

 

One of the many things I’d like to see in the future is to get the science spread to the general public more often. As a scientist, we’ve more often just focused on exchanging our ideas or findings within our close circle, while the general public have little idea of what we are doing. I think it will be really great for the next generation of scientists to become better communicators, and try to bridge what we know to the others, and with the use of new forms of media, I am pretty sure there will be many endeavors taken pretty soon. —Jiang He, Postdoctoral fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Read He’s work in PLOS Pathogens.

 

If current trends continue, the most recent scientific developments will continue to be communicated to the greater scientific community digitally, through many different open access platforms. The advantage is that this information can reach a wider audience than we could have ever imagined. However, we need to make sure that this dissemination mitigates sensationalism and only communicates good, accurate science. We will need well-trained science journalists and editors to lead these changes. —Srilakshmi Raj, Postdoctoral fellow, Cornell University. Read Raj’s work published in PLOS ONE.

 

Preprints and open access will become the norm.…I am particularly inspired by the ATGU’s eloquent publication policy. They sum it up: “We believe that it is only a matter of time before the concept of restricted access to the products of scientific research becomes an anachronism.” …In principle, a publication should include everything needed to reproduce the main findings of the study. That has to include software as well! I am frustrated with how many times I have to reinvent the wheel by redoing an analysis that was already done in another paper. My dream is that every figure, table, and result in a paper will be linked directly to the code and data used to produce them. —Melissa

We live in an interconnected world, and as technology advances, it becomes ever more pressing to share data openly and in an expedient way. The methods put in place by the WHO for sharing data on Zika virus come to mind. It’s incredibly important to maintain the quality of work we do while improving our ability to share it with others, and part of that means timely publication of results. I also hope for more acceptance of negative data, which can be just as important to be aware of as interesting positive results. Better communication and recognition of negative results would make current research much more efficient and productive. —Carrie

PLOS Medicine Chief Editor Larry Pieperl responds:

Encouraging data sharing became a priority for many during the West Africa Ebola outbreak 2-3 years ago. WHO called a consultation on data sharing and invited several journal editors to join the researchers and funding agencies for discussions in Geneva. The evidence presented there included an analysis that showed most of the research from the 2003 SARS outbreaks were not even submitted for publication until after the crisis was over.

I think some people had the idea that editors presented a barrier by refusing to publish research if the data had been previously shared, and wanted us to account for ourselves. What happened may have surprised them: journal editors had no problem endorsing data sharing in public health emergencies. This statement of editorial policy turned out to be timely, as the first studies on Zika came soon after, and data sharing quickly became an expectation. Of course, many of us believe that data sharing shouldn’t require an international emergency. Requirements by major funding agencies that researchers share data as a condition of their grant award are an interesting recent development.

Regarding negative results, they may not win awards, but their publication is unquestionably a contribution to the research community. Think of a forest where a few well-known paths appear on a published map, but most paths are not marked at all, even though some of them have already been explored for long distances only to find they lead nowhere. Surely a signpost should be added to keep others from wasting time and resources. In clinical research, a conclusive negative result can have the immediate benefit of preventing futile, costly or hazardous interventions in subsequent patients.

Now PLOS invites all ECRs who meet the PLOS Early Career Researcher Travel Award guidelines to share their views. For an opportunity to obtain support to attend a professional meeting, let us know your thoughts on the below:

Considering new and modern ways of communicating science, describe the role the community can play in changing the way science is judged and assessed to accelerate science and discovery.

We look forward to hearing your vision of the future. For more on the Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees, their backgrounds, greatest challenges and advice for success, head to the PLOS ECR Community for the second part of this two-part blog.

NYT: Why Trump’s N.I.H. Cuts Should Worry Us, by PLOS Co-Founder Harold Varmus

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PLOS is pleased to highlight here an important Op-Ed written by PLOS Co-Founder Harold Varmus, published in The New York Times on March 22, 2017.

Source: Why Trump’s N.I.H. Cuts Should Worry Us – The New York Times [Featured image: Thoka Maer]

Last week I was in London to participate in a scientific symposium. During coffee breaks, many British colleagues asked me and other American visitors to explain the bewildering news that President Trump had announced his intention to cut the budget for the National Institutes of Health by 18.3 percent, about $5.8 billion.

My answer to “What is going on?” did include some consoling reminders. A presidential budget request is a proposal, not a done deal. The actual fiscal year 2018 appropriation for the N.I.H. will be determined by Congress, which has historically provided enthusiastic bipartisan support for biomedical research. Although the N.I.H. has lost a substantial amount of its spending power gradually over the past decade, it has only rarely experienced a sharp decline in actual dollars and never of this magnitude. Furthermore, strong nonpartisan opposition to Mr. Trump’s proposal will come from many quarters, including advocates of research on specific diseases.

But it would be a mistake to be complacent about the president’s proposal, because it is likely to have real consequences. Yes, some have said that the proposed cut to the N.I.H. will be dead on arrival in Congress. But the president’s budget proposal is still important: The administration’s representatives will need to defend it at hearings, and it could be the starting point for negotiations among appropriators. It is not difficult to imagine a compromise in which the N.I.H. suffers a steep reduction.

David Knutson, speaking for PLOS, offered this comment on the New York Times Op-Ed by Harold Varmus.

To understand just how devastating a cut of less than 20 percent of an agency’s budget would be requires some understanding of how the N.I.H. operates. Very little of its typical annual budget is spent on the agency’s administration: The industrious, underpaid government scientists who manage the funding of the N.I.H.’s research programs consume less than 5 percent of its budget. Only a bit more, about 10 percent, supports the work of government scientists. In sharp contrast, over 80 percent of its resources are devoted to competitively reviewed biomedical research projects, training programs and science centers, affecting nearly every district in the country.

The N.I.H. awards multiyear grants and contracts, but receives annual appropriations that must be spent that year. This means that at the start of each year most of its dollars are already committed to recipients of awards from prior years. A budget cut of the size that is proposed would effectively prevent the awarding of new grants or the renewal of any that have reached the end of a multiyear commitment. Junior scientists, already struggling in a highly competitive atmosphere, may not get a chance to have an academic career. Senior investigators might need to lay off staff, disrupting research teams and leaving projects unfinished.

A substantial N.I.H. budget cut would undermine the fiscal stability of universities and medical schools, many of which depend on N.I.H. funding; it would erode America’s leadership in medical research; and it would diminish opportunities to discover new ways to prevent and treat diseases.

Read the complete Op-Ed by Harold Varmus in the New York Times, March 22, 2017

Harold Varmus, a professor at Weill Cornell Medicine and a co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was the director of the National Institutes of Health from 1993 to 1999 and of the National Cancer Institute from 2010 to 2015. He co-founded the Public Library of Science (PLOS) in 2000 with Patrick O. Brown and Michael B. Eisen.

A Sincere Thank You from PLOS

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2017 marks the third year that PLOS formally acknowledges our community of reviewers and editors with a public thank you published as a citable journal article. We do this to honor the dedicated service and substantial contributions made by working scientists – scientists with day jobs – who graciously provide their time and expertise to our organization. Thank you journal articles provide reviewers and editors the academic citation and recognition for their valuable service to colleagues, institutions, funders and the public.

It takes a global network of more than 78,000 reviewers and 7,000 editors to ensure that articles, perspectives, editorials and more achieve the highest quality possible. The more than 12 million article views per month (on average) this past year shows that PLOS reviewers and editors are up to the task of vetting the science, the ethics, the reporting guidelines and journal publication criteria presented in the more than 27,000 research articles published in 2016.

For the first time we are including in each of the seven journals’ thank you articles the number of newly submitted and published research articles brought to the public in 2016. We are confident that this data, in real terms, supports our ongoing commitment to increased transparency surrounding the publishing process.

We are also confident that readers will appreciate the workload required of reviewers and editors to support these publication numbers. In addition, contributors to PLOS Biology were tasked with fine-tuning Aperta™, our new submission system, as they reviewed, discussed and moved submissions through the publication process.

As they shepherd papers and provide feedback so authors may improve manuscripts and refine experimental work, it is more than quality that our contributor community champions. Reviewers, Editors and Editorial Board members who choose to do so also communicate the mission of Open Access, the value of Open Data and the relevance of Open Science to society at large.

These individuals serve as ambassadors not just for PLOS but for all of science. Public access to rigorous peer-reviewed research, the role of journals in communicating the work of our communities and the enthusiasm of our own staff are all sustained by this extensive pool of inspired and dedicated scientists.

To all of our Reviewers, Academic Editors, Guest Editors and Editorial Board members, thank you! Those wanting to explore deeper will find every reviewer’s and editor’s name in the Supporting Information of each journal’s published article; links to these articles are below.

26 educators translated 2 books into 13 different languages in just 2 hours

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Earlier this week I hosted a workshop together with LIFE Academy in Karlstad Sweden. At LIFE academy they are running a unique program focused on the training of decision makers on the topic of ICT for pedagogical development, and this week LIFE had 26 educators speaking 13 different languages gathered in Karlstad Sweden.

This was a fantastic opportunity for us to test methodology around reuse and translation of early grade reading materials into Mother tongue languages, and the workshop this week gave some great results.

During the workshop did the following:

  • I talked about Open education resources and the work that we have done at NDLA.
  • We worked in groups to translate early grade reading books
  • The participants gave feedback on both on the methodology and the tools that we used.

The main part of the workshop was a practical session where we used a platform called StoryWeaver to find early grade reading books that could be relevant for use in different contexts and cultures. The participants then translated from English and into their own languages.

We had participants speaking 13 different languages from Europe, South-America, Asia and Africa. (Bangla, Kubsabiny, Runyankole, Rukiiga, Luganda, Quechua, Khmer, Lusoga, Albanian, Kinyarwanda, Ndebele Shona, Amharic, Kiswahili)

All the participants successfully translated at least one book during our session. This shows the magic of open licenses and crowdsourcing.  2 books into 13 different languages in just 2 hours.

One of the books we translated was “Fat king Thin dog”:

 

I asked some of the participants to give feedback on their experience during the workshop and here are some of their comments: This has been a very interesting session. Never knew I could be a good translator. – Marie Gyaviira from Uganda This tool was awesome i really enjoyed it, I work with elementary students and I am sure they will enjoy using it. – Doruntina Sejdiu from Kosovo About Storyweaver StoryWeaver (www.storyweaver.org.in), an open source digital repository of multilingual stories for children and Donate – a – Book (www.donateabook.org.in), a unique crowd-funding platform that bridges the gap between those who need books and those who want to help provide books for children. The stories at on the Storyweaver platform are licensed under a creative commons license.

Storyweaver offers a simple user interface to translate any book.

About Life Academy

LIFE Academy is a global actor in capacity development with a presence in more than 80 developing and transitional countries. One of their focus areas is training of decision makers on ICT for pedagogical development. The foundation for LIFE Academy´s work is knowledge exchange between industrialised and developing countries.

 

Channel Your Community’s Research

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At PLOS, we aim to support academic communities in communicating their research in open and accessible ways. The first of the PLOS Channels, a new way for specialist communities to communicate, find and read research content, launch this week.

Channels provide an innovative way of curating and presenting published research relevant to a scholarly community. Each is curated by a small group of Channel Editors, themselves researchers, who continuously bring together and showcase recently published research content selected from the broad scope of PLOS journals. Importantly, Channel Editors can point to resources, news and commentary from many online sources, including articles published in other journals.

PLOS developed Channels for communities to drive according to their own content priorities, without limitation to any particular journal.

With experts at the helm, and content selected by researchers for researchers, we hope to create online venues that become a preferred destination for research communities. To this end, the Channels concept was designed with researchers’ input to adapt to various needs. Channels can be adopted as a resource by researchers in a specialist area, or bring together researchers from different academic backgrounds working towards a common aim. The first three Channels to launch illustrate a variety of applications.

 

The Veteran Disability & Rehabilitation Research Channel was born from a collaboration with the US Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, as a new home for the community previously served by the Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD) which ceased publication in 2017. The new Channel, with an expanded international focus, features multidisciplinary research for a global community of researchers and care providers working with veterans.

 

The Open Source Toolkit Channel showcases research from a diverse group of fields that have in common the description of innovative open source software and hardware applications that can be used in research and education. This Channel aims not to serve a specific scientific discipline but to create bridges between vibrant communities that build tools to support democratization and reproducibility of research.

 

The Tuberculosis Channel, led by Academic Editors from PLOS ONE and PLOS Medicine, will launch on World TB Day, March 24th, 2017. This Channel will draw from PLOS journal content covering all aspects of TB from mycobacteriology to computational epidemiologic models, clinical diagnosis and treatment. By integrating these reports with content from a variety of external sources, Channel Editors aim to provide an accessible resource of interest to TB researchers around the world.

We are grateful to the Channel Editors who have stepped up enthusiastically to pioneer the use of this new tool for their communities. More PLOS Channels will follow later this year—some are already in preparation. If you have interest in becoming a Channel Editor or see an unmet need in your community for this tool, we welcome your thoughts. We look forward to working with many more communities to help disseminate their work, create useful resources and foster collaboration within and across specialist communities.

Stay tuned!

 

Optimism on Rare Disease Day: With Research, Possibilities are Limitless

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Since 2008 in Europe and 2009 in the US, the last day of February is marked as Rare Disease Day. In less than 10 years, Rare Disease Day (and #RareDiseaseDay) has grown from a centralized effort to bring attention to these disorders by patient organizations in Europe to an international awareness and action day that includes patients, legislators, research funders, scientists and clinicians.

It is estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from rare diseases, defined regionally according to prevalence. In the European Union a rare disease is one that affects less than 1 in 2,000 patients while in the United Kingdom the qualification is less than 50,000 patients and in the United States the classification is less than 200,000 patients. Regardless, rare diseases usually have a genetic basis and are frequently progressive, disabling and with time, life-threatening. There are currently more than 7,000 different types of rare diseases and disorders, according to the rare disease patient advocacy organization Global Genes.

Those interested in general concepts related to rare disease and treatments or drug development can look to recent PLOS articles covering “Clinical Practice Guidelines for Rare Diseases: The Orphanet Database,” “Profitability and Market Value of Orphan Drug Companies: A Retrospective, Propensity-Matched Case-Control Study” and “Access to Orphan Drugs: A Comprehensive Review of Legislations, Regulations and Policies in 35 Countries.”

Research is the theme of Rare Disease Day 2017 with the slogan “With research, possibilities are limitless.”

Research published in PLOS journals is a testament to the dedication of scientists working on these diseases that often have less funding and attention than other biomedical issues, and the willingness of these scientists to go beyond publishing Open Access to make their data available for the rare disease community is critical to accelerate a path forward to uncover treatments and cures.

Image Credit: Michael Bamshad et. al.; video frame

Coincidentally, one of this year’s finalists for the Open Science Prize, given for unique insights developed from shared data, is described in this video “MyGene2: Accelerating Gene Discovery with Radically Open Data Sharing.” Researchers at the University of Washington created the web portal MyGene2 as a place for people with rare genetic mutations to connect with others that share the condition and with researchers interested in their particular mutation. Michael Bamshad, PLOS author and professor and chief of the Division of Genetic Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington & Seattle Children’s Hospital, describes this Open Science resource in a RARECast podcast interview, “Helping Patients with the Same Undiagnosed Genetic Condition Find Each Other.” Research from Bamshad’s group also includes PLOS ONE articles on the implications of fine-scale patterns of population ancestry on rare variant genome-wide association studies, genetic variation and risk for symptomatic West Nile Virus infection and disease progression and the PLOS Genetics article discussing mutations and a rare-disease inheritance model applied to congenital heart disease.

In addition to data sharing, opportunities to improve diagnoses stem from genetic sequencing advances, as described in improving the identification of cancer-associated genes and co-occurrence of rare diseases and resolution of a complex phenotype by next-gen sequencing.

Rare Disease Day is a chance to draw attention to the research and policies needed to advance understanding of these disorders that challenge the lives of so many. This year’s theme, “with research, possibilities are limitless” meshes well with the community PLOS serves as a science, technology and medicine Open Access publisher. A small sample of new research on rare diseases from PLOS authors is highlighted below:

Friedreich’s Ataxia

Progeria

Gaucher’s disease

Mitochondrial diseases

 

A Year of Open for Discovery

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Every year, PLOS releases an Annual Update of milestones and highlights. We do this for more than just archival purposes of notable research; we do this to bring to light foundational work of the many teams that help make us ONE PLOS. PLOS is unique among other Open Access publishers in that the work of our teams serves authors and the greater community—we are active collaborators on advocacy and technology initiatives that increase access, discovery and use of the scientific literature. The Annual Update provides a centralized resource for those looking to understand more about who we are and what we do.

We hope readers will find work of interest to use, reuse and remix from one or more of the sections including:

  • Letter from the Chairman and Interim CEO
  • Research and Global Media Highlights
  • A Modern Technical Framework to Accelerate Innovation
  • Moving Beyond the Article to Expand Author Opportunities
  • Updated Policies and Practices to Address Reproducibility, Discovery and Author Recognition
  • Multifaceted Approach to Advance Open Data and Open Science

Readers will notice several changes from previous updates: a more concise report to enable easier browsing through the year’s achievements, more links to quickly access key research and a selection of news interviews to hear directly from PLOS authors. This year’s update also marks a shift to calendar year reporting to consolidate internal data-gathering activities, allowing us to focus more on getting important research out to the public as quickly as possible.

2016 PLOS BY THE NUMBERS

While you’ll find all the details of the above infographic inside the 2016 PLOS Annual Update, we are full-steam ahead into 2017 as PLOS engaged with a record number of new Twitter followers in January (more than 7,000) who discovered and shared exciting research.

Today, we announce the open source release of Ambra™, our journal and collections publishing platform.

In providing Ambra to the community, we live up to our commitment to make software developed at PLOS available open source once we are confident of the code’s scalability. Assigning the open source MIT license to Ambra follows our 2014 MIT licensing of PLOS ALMs as Lagotto. Read “Ambra, the PLOS Journal Publishing Platform, is Open Again” by Patrick Polischuk, Senior Product Manager, Product Development, for a brief history of Ambra and details on this release.

Stand Up for Science

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“You look at science (or at least talk of it) as some sort of demoralizing invention of man, something apart from real life, and which must be cautiously guarded and kept separate from everyday existence. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.” -Rosalind Franklin

In this current political climate, facts matter more than ever. With responsibility as a leading Open Access publisher, a beacon of positive change to archaic systems, PLOS loudly stands up for science and scientists around the world in their efforts to improve the health and well-being of societies and explain the wonder of the world around and beyond us.

Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, enlightenment thinkers advanced politics, philosophy, science and communication; they supported equality and human dignity, and opposed superstition, intolerance and bigotry. Scientific thinking and the scientific method was a critical shaper of the enlightenment. As we look at the world around us, we must ask, what has the scientific method brought to our world, and to our world view? To answer this question, we must let the data speak for itself. Your data. My data. And the data of every geologist, atmospheric scientist, evolutionary biologist, geneticist, physicist, engineer, software developer and physician scientist. This is a position PLOS has exemplified through its Open Data policy and we strongly support the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s guidance, provided most recently in its January 6, 2017 memo, on this important area.

Science in Action

But how can this data speak when science communication is blocked from reaching the public and the scientists themselves are prevented from reaching their labs, their communities, their places of work? Access to information, access to research and data enables better policy decisions. In turn, policies informed by publicly and privately funded data and created by enlightened governments, academic communities, patient advocacy groups and global coalitions all power improvements in our world. Climate change, vaccine safety and animal welfare are among the many areas where we support the scientific endeavor to inform the debate with data-based evidence, and organizations like the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization rely on data-based evidence to foster human health both in the US and around the world.

It is impossible for PLOS to know how many of our global network of nearly 7,000 editors, more than 78,000 reviewers and authors from more than 190 countries are on any particular type of visa. We do know science is, and has been for generations, an international endeavor. Scientists collaborate and travel for post-doctoral fellowships, conferences, review panels, sabbaticals and speaking engagements. Conceptual understanding, testable hypothesis, well-designed studies, observational methods and sufficient replication are the tenets of science discussed during these meetings, as well as during routine days in the lab. These tenets of science are upheld by all researchers, regardless of nationality, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, career stage or professional stature. Immigration restrictions inhibit that free exchange of knowledge.

As a nonprofit publisher, innovator and advocacy organization founded to accelerate progress in science communication, we must advocate for what we know to be true: PLOS must not only liberate science communication from the constraints of traditional publishing, we must stand up for science to ensure the liberation of scientific facts, intelligent discourse and conclusions based on data. Given that PLOS’ primary mission is the elimination of barriers to the open dissemination of scientific research, we’re naturally against policies and practices that increase, rather than decrease, obstacles.

In a world that abruptly and forcefully presents challenges of accessibility, accountability and discovery, a rigorous commitment to our core principles and mission to transform how research results are communicated is even more critical. A growing international community of readers, educators, policy makers, scientists and entrepreneurs share, reuse and remix Open Access research article content without restriction—advancing the innovation economy and the health of communities around the world.

We continue to support the scientific community from which we were founded and to be vocal in pushing the continued expansion of open science. We support, and will be represented at, the March for Science in Washington—now scheduled for Earth Day April 22nd! We look forward to seeing you there.

To reach The Official PLOS Blog team, email communications@plos.org or leave a comment below.

 

Image Credit: Shahee Ilyas

Plateselskapene eier ikke SKAM!

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De internasjonale plateselskapene eier ikke NRK serien SKAM men de styrer rettighetene til musikken som brukes i serien. Dette gjør at de nå kan tvinge frem geoblokkering av serien slik at den bare kan vises i Norge.

Skam er en nettbasert dramaserie som handler om livet til en rekke ungdommer på Hartvig Nissens skole i Oslo. Det har hittil kommet ut tre sesonger i serien som nå også har økende popularitet i utlandet. Den første episoden av Skam er en av de mest sette enkeltepisodene på NRK TV (nett-tv) noensinne og i gjennomsnitt har nettsiden 1,2 millioner unike brukere per uke og mer enn en million personer strømmer de ukentlige episodene.

Serien bruker musikk fra flere norske artister med den konsekvens at disse artistene får en helt unik profilering – også i utlandet. Et eksempel er låten «5 fine frøkner» som gjorde et voldsomt byks på Youtube etter den ble brukt i serien, låten passert også 10 millioner avspillinger på Spotify i desember 2016. Artisten Gabrielle Leithaug jublet selvsagt og hennes manager, Lars Kåre Hustoft, omtalte dette som hyggelig julegave i så sent som desember 2016. IFPI Norge og plateselskapene på sin side klarer ikke helt å se fordelen med at deres artister får denne typen gratis reklame.

Musikkrettigheter skaper problemer

Det første tegnet til problemer kom allerede i november 2016 da NRK ble tvunget til å nekte teksting av serien til engelsk på grunn av musikkrettigheter. Dette skapte en storm på Twitter som endte i et opprop som fikk 2500 underskrifter. Serien kunne altså vises i utlandet via nettet, men ikke tekstes.

Sist uke tok saken en ny vending når NRK mottok krav fra IFPI Norge om umiddelbar geoblokkering av serien slik at den bare kan vises i Norge. IFPI er foreningen for de internasjonale plateselskapene og deres datterselskap i Norge. IFPI skal jobbe på vegne av artistene, men man kan virkelig spørre seg om de gjør det i denne saken.

Dette har selvsagt skapt engasjement hos mange som elsker serien og som mener det er viktig at den vises utenfor Norge. Med den enorme oppslutningen SKAM har fått i utlandet er det vanskelig å unngå å tenke på serien som en god eksportartikkel. Jeg synes denne Facebook kommentaren til Anne Siri Koksrud Bekkelund oppsummerer dette fortreffelig.

Skam er jo vår beste eksportartikkel siden trelast, og bygger relasjoner med Kina bedre enn offentlig pisking av Dalai Lama ville gjort. Samtidig sprer serien solide norske verdier som likestilling, girl power, homo-rettigheter og ungdomsfylla! Noen. Må. Gjøre. Noe. Nå. – Anne Siri Koksrud Bekkelund

Creative Commons løser problemet

Den gode nyheten er at det finnes en løsning på dette problemet når NRK nå jobber med en ny sesong av SKAM. Den digitale delingskulturen er i dag godt utviklet. Denne delingskulturen bygger på at musikk og andre kilder blir underlagt det som kalles en fri lisens. Den mest brukte av disse er Creative Commons. Denne lisensen gir alle som ønsker det lov til å gjenbruke musikk, bilder, film og tekst uten å spørre om lov, men under gitte forutsetninger. Tillatelsen for å gjenbruke har opphavsmannen gitt på forhånd ved å bruke denne lisensen. Flere av de mest brukte CC lisensene tillater også kommersiell gjenbruk.  

Creative Commons lisens på Urørt?

NRK P3, som produserer SKAM, driver også nettstedet Urørt.no. Urørt er et nettsted hvor uetablerte norske artister og band kan promotere musikken sin, de beste blir også spilt på NRK radio. Ved å gi artistene mulighet til å lisensiere musikken med Creative Commons på Urørt.no kan NRK skape en unik mulighet for de artistene som ønsker å bidra til den globale delingskulturen. Samtidig vil NRK på sin side få mulighet til å bruke musikken med den forutsetning at opphavsmannen blir kreditert. Artister som ønsker det burde selvsagt få lov å legge ut musikk på en lukket lisens.

NRK som tross alt er finansiert med lisenspenger fra fellesskapet burde her tørre å tenke nytt. Målet må være at SKAM skal nå så mange som mulig og når musikkrettigheter står i veien for dette må man ganske enkelt komme opp med en løsning som gir maksimal eksponering av serier som produseres med midler fra fellesskapet.

Wolność panoramy – pigułka wiedzy #7

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Jednym z bardziej kuriozalnych przykładów na to, jak prawo autorskie jest niedostosowane do cyfrowej rzeczywistości, jest brak harmonizacji przepisów dotyczących wolności panoramy w Unii Europejskiej. Od dawna postulujemy stworzenie ram prawnych pozwalających użytkownikom na legalne korzystanie z mediów społecznościowych i dzielenie się zdjęciami przestrzeni publicznej. Nasza kolejna publikacja z serii „Pigułka wiedzy” dotyczy właśnie tego zagadnienia, które niestety nie zostało uwzględnione przez Komisję Europejską w propozycji reformy prawa autorskiego.

Publikacja do pobrania w formacie PDF.

Wolność panoramy

Przestrzeń publiczna jest  dobrem wspólnym – każdy powinien mieć prawo zobaczyć, jak wyglądają place, ulice, parki czy budynki w danym miejscu – czy to na żywo, czy tylko na zdjęciu, filmie czy w internecie np. w usługach lokalizacyjnych. Dlatego dyskutując o wolności panoramy, prawie umożliwiającym dzielenie się wizerunkiem przestrzeni publicznej, musimy pamiętać o tym, że:

  • prawo powinno podążać za rzeczywistością, wiele zasad ze świata analogowego nie powinno mieć zastosowania w świecie cyfrowym;
  • brak harmonizacji (ujednoliconych przepisów) prawa na poziomie europejskim utrudnia jego przestrzeganie.

1. Dlaczego to zagadnienie jest ważne?

Wolność panoramy (prawo panoramy) pozwala na wykorzystanie utworów wystawionych na widok publiczny, takich jak: budynki, rzeźby, pomniki, inne obiekty architektoniczne, murale, graffiti bez konieczności uzyskiwania zgody posiadaczy praw do tych dzieł. Tak jest w Polsce – ale przypisy dotyczące wolności panoramy w poszczególnych krajach są różne. Nie wszędzie publikowanie nawet prywatnych zdjęć z takimi obiektami w tle jest dozwolone. Przykładowo we Francji, Włoszech, Grecji i Szwecji w ogóle nie obowiązuje wolność panoramy i jeśli majątkowe prawa autorskie do danego obiektu nie wygasły – trzeba uzyskać zgodę na wykorzystanie wizerunku. Uważamy, że prawo musi brać pod uwagę zjawiska, jakie zachodzą w społeczeństwie –  a wolność panoramy to nieodłączny element cyfrowej kultury dzielenia się.

2. Co to jest wolność panoramy?

W Polsce prawo panoramy jest przykładem tzw. dozwolonego użytku w prawie autorskim i określa je art. 33 ustawy o prawie autorskim. Przepis ten dopuszcza publikowanie zdjęć, filmów, dzieł sztuki, które są widoczne w miejscach publicznych (np. na ulicy w parku, na skwerze). Wolność panoramy nie ma natomiast zastosowania wobec obiektów znajdujących się w miejscach niepublicznych (np. rzeźba stojąca u kogoś w domu).

Prawo panoramy w Polsce ma szeroki zakres i daje dużą pewność i swobodę w korzystaniu z utworów. Jednak to, co u nas jest oczywiste, w innych krajach wygląda zupełnie inaczej. Różnice wynikają z tego, że dyrektywa w sprawie harmonizacji niektórych aspektów praw autorskich i pokrewnych w społeczeństwie informacyjnym (tzw. InfoSoc) zezwala państwom członkowskim na wprowadzenie do prawa lokalnego  dozwolonego użytku w postaci wolności panoramy – ale tego od nich nie wymaga.  W efekcie w różnych krajach europejskich zdecydowano się na różne regulacje dotyczące prawa panoramy. Polska czy Wielka Brytania wprowadziły szeroki dozwolony użytek, ale już np. Francja czy Włochy w ogóle nie przewidują takiego wyjątku. Na tym tle polska regulacja może być przykładem dobrej implementacji  dyrektywy do prawa krajowego.

Tak by wyglądał Plac Zamkowy, gdyby w Polsce nie był dopuszczony dozwolony użytek wolności panoramy, CC BY SA, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Freedom_of_Panorama_2015/pl#/media/File:Warsaw_Royal_Castle_2008_no_FoP_censored.JPG

3. Diagnoza – wyzwania związane z wolnością panoramy
  • Prawo niedostosowane do współczesnych potrzeb: wszyscy fotografujemy, kręcimy filmy czy w inny sposób uwieczniamy miejsca, do których podróżujemy lub gdzie spędzamy czas. Niektóre dzieła stały się też elementami popkultury i tym samym zaczęły być wykorzystywane w różny nietypowy sposób – jako nadruki na koszulach czy inne gadżety. Dziś trudno jednoznacznie stwierdzić, które z tych działań mają charakter komercyjny, a które niekomercyjny – ale niezależnie od tego, wszystkie powinny być dozwolone. Dlatego brak prawa panoramy generuje niepewność prawną i hamuje kreatywność. Myślenie kategoriami analogowymi prowadzi do generowania martwych przepisów. Przykładem na takie działanie może być wyrok szwedzkiego Sądu Najwyższego, który uznał, że prawo panoramy dotyczy tylko analogowego wykorzystania zdjęć, a nie cyfrowego.
  • Brak harmonizacji europejskiego prawa: przepisy w różnych krajach Unii Europejskiej różnią się od siebie, co utrudnia ich przestrzeganie. W Polsce obowiązuje szeroki zakres dozwolonego użytku, ale już np. we Francji, aby sfotografować wieżę Eiffla nocą potrzebne jest pozwolenie (oświetlenie wieży jest objęte ochroną prawnoautorską). W Finlandii i Danii na wykorzystanie zdjęć np. rzeźb jest potrzebna zgoda ich twórców. Z kolei w krajach bałtyckich oraz Słowenii zdjęcia można wykorzystywać tylko w celach niekomercyjnych. Prowadzi to do sytuacji, w której jeśli chcemy przestrzegać prawa autorskiego w zakresie prawa panoramy, musimy poznać dokładnie ustawodawstwo każdego kraju.
4. Rekomendacje
  • Harmonizacja prawa – potrzebne jest jednolite prawo dla wszystkich w Unii Europejskiej, które da poczucie pewności prawnej i jasność co to tego, co jest dozwolone w kontekście wolności panoramy, a co zabronione.
  • Przepisy dostosowane do współczesnych potrzeb – Unia Europejska musi zapewnić nie tylko jednolite ramy prawne dla wszystkich, ale również takie przepisy, które będą możliwe do przestrzegania i szanowania w cyfrowej rzeczywistości. Polska regulacja może być przykładem dobrej implementacji unijnej dyrektywy do prawa krajowego. W porównaniu z innymi krajami polskie prawo daje dużo większą pewność i swobodę w korzystaniu z utworów, stymuluje kreatywność i innowacje.

Geoblocking a prawo autorskie – pigułka wiedzy #6

European Open EDU Policy Project -

Komisja Europejska, w komunikacie w sprawie strategii Jednolitego Rynku Cyfrowego, zidentyfikowała geoblocking jako jeden z problemów w kontekście ograniczeń dostępu do utworów chronionych prawami autorskimi online. Jakiekolwiek ograniczenia w dostępie do treści wpływają na dynamikę rozwoju społeczeństwa opartego na wiedzy, dlatego też zagadnienie geoblockingu jest dla nas ważne. W kolejnej publikacji z serii „pigułka wiedzy” przekonujemy, że tylko swobodny dostęp do dóbr kultury i wyników pracy twórczej na terenie całej UE może pozwolić na realizację celów Jednolitego Rynku Cyfrowego. 

Pobierz publikację w formacie PDF.

Geoblocking a prawo autorskie

Komisja Europejska, w komunikacie w sprawie strategii Jednolitego Rynku Cyfrowego, zidentyfikowała geoblocking jako jeden z problemów w kontekście ograniczeń dostępu do utworów chronionych prawami autorskimi online. Geoblocking to  techniczne ograniczenie w dostępie do cyfrowych treści, ściśle powiązane z domniemanym położeniem geograficznym użytkownika. Jest to praktyka coraz powszechniej wykorzystywana pod pretekstem terytorialności ochrony praw autorskich, czy też domniemanego dbania o różnorodność kulturową Europy. Praktyka ta budzi jednak poważne kontrowersje, gdyż ingeruje w dostępność treści online, transgraniczność Internetu, a także swobodę przepływu produktów i usług. Dlatego ważne jest, by stworzyć ramy prawne, w których:

– odbiorca nabywając prawo do korzystania z utworu może z niego korzystać bez ograniczeń co do miejsca, z którego następuje odtworzenie utworu (propozycja tego rozwiązania zawarta jest w propozycji rozporządzenia w sprawie zapewnienia możliwości transgranicznego przenoszenia na rynku wewnętrznym usług online w zakresie treści); oraz

– odbiorca na terytorium całej Unii Europejskiej może nabyć prawo do korzystania z utworów dostępnych chociażby w jednym kraju członkowskim.

Geoblocking jest szerszym problemem, którym Centrum Cyfrowe zajmuje się jedynie w kontekście dostępu do treści online (czyli możliwością obejrzenia filmu na hiszpańskiej platformie, a nie zakupem oliwy).

1.   Dlaczego to zagadnienie jest ważne?
  • Geoblocking jest sprzeczny z ideą wspólnego rynku wewnętrznego Unii Europejskiej i z jednolitymi zasadami – tworzy on bariery w dostępie do treści i utworów audiowizualnych. Brak możliwości dostępu do treści audiowizualnych zamieszczonych w Internecie (szczególnie na platformach video on demand) w innych krajach utrudnia wymianę myśli, dzieł nauki i kultury, a twórcom ogranicza dostęp do odbiorców ich twórczości.
  • Geoblocking często uniemożliwia korzystanie z treści, które zostały zakupione legalnie przez użytkowników w innym kraju, niż chcieliby z treści skorzystać, dlatego też jest sprzeczny z ideą transgranicznego Internetu i sprawia, że podmioty świadczące audiowizualne usługi medialne na żądanie stają się mniej konkurencyjne na arenie międzynarodowej.
  • Ograniczanie wymiany treści i utworów audiowizualnych pomiędzy państwami członkowskimi nie sprzyja rozwojowi innowacyjności i konkurencyjności, a geoblocking prowadzi do ograniczonej dostępności kultury.
2.   Czym są geoblocking?

Geoblocking jest praktyką, która uniemożliwia użytkownikom korzystanie z witryn internetowych i aplikacji, jeżeli nie są w kraju lub miejscu ustalonym przez właściciela danych treści. Dlatego też np. w Polsce niemożliwe jest obejrzenie wielu darmowych programów BBC. W całej Unii Europejskiej jedynie 4% serwisów video-on-demand jest dostępnych poza krajem, w którym został wykupiony dostęp. Geoblocking wynika często nie tylko z terytorialności ochrony praw autorskich, ale również z umów pomiędzy twórcami a pośrednikami internetowymi, czy też po prostu z decyzji biznesowych podjętych przez pośredników. Technicznie jest to możliwe poprzez przypisanie adresu IP do konkretnej lokalizacji geograficznej.

Kwestia geoblockingu obejmuje dwa odrębne wątki:

  • możliwości korzystania z utworów w różnych krajach członkowskich, gdy prawo do korzystania z tych utworów zostało nabyte w jednym kraju; oraz
  • zapewnienia, aby utwory nabywane w jednym kraju członkowskim mogły być nabywane również w innym Państwie.

domena publiczna, https://pixabay.com/pl/pi%C4%99kny-natura-europa-litwa-zielony-1236161/

3.   Diagnoza – wyzwania związane z kwestią regulacji geoblockingu z perspektywy prawnoautorskiej

Terytorialny charakter prawa autorskiego stanowi utrudnienie zarówno przy świadczeniu, jak i dostępie do usług online, w tym też do treści chronionych prawem autorskim.

Brak pewności prawnej w zakresie transgranicznego dostępu do treści nie tylko ogranicza rozwój Jednolitego Rynku Cyfrowego, ale też korzystanie z treści przez użytkowników.

Poprzez stosowanie mechanizmu geoblockingu ograniczona jest możliwość korzystania z utworów nabytych legalnie w innych krajach członkowskich, a rynek utworów dostępnych legalnie online różni się w zależności od państwa członkowskiego. W efekcie pewne utwory (bardzo duża ich część) w ogóle nie są dostępne z terytoriów innych krajów.

Nie ma żadnych dowodów na to, że zachowanie mechanizmów geoblocking w jakikolwiek sposób pozytywnie wpływa na interesy twórców inaczej niż przez przyznanie im kolejnego sposobu kontroli eksploatacji treści.

4.   Rekomendacje
  • Należy wprowadzić regulacje umożliwiające korzystanie z utworów w różnych państwach członkowskich, gdy prawo do korzystania z tych utworów zostało nabyte
    w jednym państwie Wspólnoty. Wprowadzanie ograniczeń w dostępie w oparciu
    o istniejące granice terytorialne, szczególnie w przypadku internetu, nie ma żadnego uzasadnienia ekonomicznego czy społecznego.
  • Niezbędne jest zapewnienie, aby utwory nabywane online w jednym kraju członkowskim mogły być nabywane również w innym państwie. Tylko swobodny dostęp do dóbr kultury i wyników pracy twórczej na terenie całej UE może pozwolić
    na pełną integrację w tym obszarze.
  • Rozwiązania skutkujące eliminacją geoblockingu muszą zostać również uwzględnione w pracach nad zmianami w dyrektywie audiowizualnej, która dotyczy również audiowizualnych usług medialnych na żądanie.

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