The Electrochemical Society’s Campaign for Open Science2017 case statement 04

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The Electrochemical Society’s Campaign for Open Science

The Electrochemical Society


Free the Science: The Electrochemical Society’s Campaign for Open Science (Avg. Cost)

clean water

To Publish Open Access Outside ECS

transform communication


lectrochemical and solid state science hold solutions to some of the world’s most critical challenges in renewable energy, clean water, health care, public safety, transportation, and communications. At the Electrochemical Society we are committed to solving these problems by sharing the latest research. This is how science advances—disseminating knowledge through scientific journals and meetings so that others can build on that work. This has been at the core of our mission for 115 years. The current state of academic publishing, mostly controlled by a few large companies, severely restricts this information sharing by putting paywalls in front of knowledge. And that limits everyone’s progress toward finding solutions that can have global impact. ECS has a bold alternative: attract the very best scientific minds, give them technology that promotes transparency and collaboration, publish their peer-reviewed work at no charge, and let anyone access it for free. It’s called Free the Science and we believe it can foster scientific progress and support ECS’s role as a leading, nonprofit, scientific society. Free the Science is ambitious and ECS is ready to take on this challenge. Today’s research environment requires the Society to respond to the changing face of scholarly communications. The journal-based economy is waning and being replaced with one that is decentralized and focused on people. Through Free the Science, ECS will lead a revolution and uphold its lasting legacy as a forwardthinking, independent scientific body.

Free the Science: reinventing publishing; enabling faster innovation. 2

The Electrochemical Society

Where We Are Today “Publishing is dominated by a few big for-profit companies who have massive control over the whole industry.They’re interested in making money, not in facilitating authors’ goals of distributing their results and getting people to use, cite, and further develop their work.” — Gerald Frankel, technical editor for corrosion science & technology, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, and professor at The Ohio State University


he internet was intended to be the great equalizer— democratizing both knowledge creation and knowledge sharing. That didn’t happen with scholarly journals: the cost of developing and maintaining online platforms was too high, leading the vast majority of nonprofit scientific societies to partner with for-profit publishers. Today, the top five publishers control 53 percent of all scientific papers, with the largest of them reporting profit margins of up to 40 percent in recent years. To compare with other industries, in 2015 Google’s profit margin was around 23 percent, and Toyota posted just over 8 percent. These numbers are illustrative of a broken and unfair system that is built on the old print publishing model. Generally, publishing companies have no “input costs”, because they receive scientific papers from researchers for free. These researchers are made to pay article processing charges (APCs) to have their work published open access to meet growing requirements from governments The Electrochemical Society

and funders. Additionally, many institutions are forced to pay for expensive subscription bundles to non-open access journals. Sometimes, individuals have to pay high download costs for onetime access to articles relevant to their work. This model creates a scientific class system: first, it puts the best research beyond the reach of scientists who do not work for large, wellendowed universities, or well-resourced labs and companies. Second, authors who do not have large research budgets cannot publish open access in quality journals because of the APC costs. Worse, the system has diluted objective peer review in some cases, to favor quantity over quality science (see sidebar, “Quantity over Quality”). Today’s environment delays innovation and fails to recognize the critical nexus of content dissemination and technology. This is unacceptable. We don’t know where the next big breakthrough will come from or who will make it. In response, ECS is committing to new ways of sharing through open science, welcoming diverse perspectives and all of the best minds, while maintaining the integrity and reliability for which ECS is known.

Quantity over Quality A Harvard University researcher submitted a paper, “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?: The Surgical and Neoplastic Role of Cacao Extract in Breakfast Cereals,” to 37 journals to be published as open access. Upon showing he would pay the APC, 17 of those journals published the nonsensical research, completely bypassing authentic peer review. 3

Anchored in a Bold History, ECS Leads the Way “I usually get a lot of requests from students in developing countries.Their institution may not have the resources to subscribe to the journals, and they send me personal emails to ask for my papers.With Free the Science, ECS is helping developing countries build up their science program.” —Y. Shirley Meng, treasurer of the ECS Battery Division and professor at the University of California-San Diego

rethink waste

reinvent transit


n 1902, a group of innovative young scientists sought a new forum to discuss, publish, and disseminate developments in the growing field of electrochemistry. They formed the American Electrochemical Society in Philadelphia, the home of independence and the first free public library in the United States; a history befitting an organization that aims to Free the Science around the globe. More than 100 years later and operating now as ECS, scientists and researchers worldwide are still engaged in our thriving community—one that boasts some of the greatest scientific minds of the last century, including Thomas Edison, Gordon Moore, John Goodenough, Adam Heller, Lubomyr Romankiw, Isamu Akasaki, and Esther Takeuchi, just to name a few (see next page “Notable ECS Members”). Today, we are in the golden age of electrochemistry and solid state science, with many game-changing discoveries that will help solve some of the most pressing sustainability and health issues facing our planet. The scientists ECS represents are studying corrosion to save our rusting infrastructure; developing sensors that detect breast cancer; making lighter, longer lasting batteries for electric cars; and converting greenhouse gases to fuel. They are tackling issues like clean water that in some regions means the difference between war and peace, and, nuclear waste, which impacts national security as well as human health and the environment. New Model for Scientific Publishing Considering our mission to advance, discuss, and disseminate research in electrochemical and solid state science and technology, and the critical impact of our sciences, ECS has no choice but to


The Electrochemical Society

Isamu Akasaki

• Gordon Moore – co-founder of Intel • John Goodenough - key developer of the Li-ion battery • Esther Takeuchi – responsible for battery in the implantable cardiac defibrillator • Lubomyr Romankiw – discovery enabled the $35B data storage industry

Gordon Moore

• Adam Heller - developed the painless blood glucose monitoring system

Esther Takeuchi

John Goodenough

Adam Heller

Notable ECS Members

• Isamu Akasaki - winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for pioneering work with blue LEDs which enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources

change the way we have historically operated. By pursuing a new model for scholarly communication, one that embraces sharing along the continuum of the research cycle, ECS is staying true to mission and adapting to flourish in the next century of our history. The new model includes realizing the full potential and importance of technology and responding to new attitudes in scientific publishing. Free the Science is a comprehensive initiative in open science and open access (see sidebar on “What is Open Science”). It encourages accessibility at all stages of scientific inquiry in the full spirit of transparency, inclusion, and decentralization. In emerging economies, Free the Science will transform educational opportunities, inviting more minds to participate in research discussions and collaborations. In industry, it will help start-ups and The Electrochemical Society

established companies with product development and developing new markets. Knowledge is power. This is why ECS is proposing to complete a transition of its publishing operation by 2024, while committing to maintaining its high quality through our rigorous peer review system. It is an unprecedented strategy that will bring more people into the scientific process and ultimately make our entire digital library available to everyone: authors will be able to publish in our peerreviewed journals without a fee and anyone in the world will be able to access our research and data repository without paywalls. Open access and open science are movements that are gaining traction in the broader scientific world, particularly since many governments now mandate that any research receiving public funding must be open and transparent. ECS is well positioned to leverage this momentum with our experience in publishing and disseminating pioneering, high-quality, peer-reviewed research. As a small, independent, nonprofit with two journals that cover more than 13 interdisciplinary technical areas, our community of scientists and engineers is poised to make an impact on the future of how research is communicated and scientific progress is made. And, we are committed to sharing our model with other academic societies that want to advance and facilitate research. Open access needs the advocacy and wisdom of scientific societies that are run by scientists.

What is “Open Science” ADJECTIVE/NOUN “O•pen Sci•ence” is an umbrella term that refers to technology and process efforts to make science transparent, reproducible, reusable, and openly accessible from the conception of an experiment and its methodology, to the raw data and published results. It is about releasing and sharing information to facilitate progress. Popular terms used in the open science spectrum include open data, open notebook, open source, and open access. 5

The Campaign to Free the Science


ree the Science is nothing short of a revolution, but it is not free. It requires investment. Currently ECS’s main source of income comes from charging for access to the research in our digital library. But this business model needs to change. Just as social media has transformed connections and conversations, open access will allow ECS to transform traditional scholarly research communication to meet 21st century needs.

To Free the Science and sustain ECS’s publishing and knowledge creation programs will require a $40 million fund to transition completely from our current, fee-based publishing structure to a fully open access operation that serves as a model for other academic societies and scientific organizations (see sidebar on “25 Factors”). The campaign goal was derived by anticipating growth, implementing operational efficiencies, and applying a conservative 5% return on endowment performance. To date, over $9 million has been secured. In total, the $40 million fund will be allocated as follows:


Dissemination and Discoverability of Groundbreaking Research: $15 million

Free the Science will make our entire digital library, including our journals, abstracts, meeting proceedings, monographs, and our member magazine, Interface, accessible to everyone. While the transition from print to digital publications may have eliminated some costs such as printing, paper, and distribution, the world of peer-reviewed, data-enriched journals is an expensive business. The 6

shift to a digital environment puts more pressure on publishers to open research through the entire research lifecycle, from data sharing to preprint servers, making both publishing and reading a seamless experience for the user. Fast turn-around, articles that are easy to navigate, robust search tools, instantaneous accumulations of statistics, sophisticated digital library platforms, and articles optimized for search engines are all costs that fall back on the publisher. APCs have been one outlet for publishers to cover those costs. Free the Science will eliminate these fees.

“You don’t know where the next Einstein is.They may be somewhere in a small village. The access to information is very important.” —John Weidner, former technical editor, electrochemical engineering, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, and professor at the University of South Carolina

The Electrochemical Society


Uphold Editorial Standards and Quality: $20 million

To respond to growing needs in the scientific community for data sharing tools, ECS will pursue partnerships and projects in open science that invite greater collaboration.We will continue to ensure that our high standards are kept throughout the process and that our peer review system is strictly adhered to. This work is substantial and relies on an army of reviewers to preserve the validity and reliability of the process.


Support Scientists, Engineers, and Their Work: $5 million

ECS must continue to advance the field by supporting scientists and researchers at every stage of their careers.That means funding travel grants so that more people can participate in our research meetings, continuing education, honors and awards program, and fellowships. It also means engaging and socializing our community and beyond in programs that directly respond to the world’s challenges and our Free the Science initiative.

The Electrochemical Society

25 Factors Affecting the Cost of Peer-Reviewed Scientific Research 1. Peer review and editor stipends 2. Cultivating and maintaining a good reputation 3. Funding of new initiatives, books, journals 4. Integrating and upgrading infrastructure systems 5. Creation and maintenance of a robust online platform 6. Online hosting fees 7. Manuscript submission and management 8. Art, multimedia, and data supplements handling 9. Recruitment and retention of editors and reviewers 10. Content curation 11. Quality assurance and proofreading 12. Plagiarism detection 13. Ethics investigations 14. Licensing, copyright management, and Library of Congress fees 15. Digitization, indexing, and linking 16. Distribution and dissemination agencies 17. Print-on-demand services 18. Online user management 19. Archival maintenance 20. Metadata tagging and cross-referencing 21. Citation services, including social media 22. Author and reader services 23. Integrating and tracking metrics and, increasingly, alternative metrics 24. Marketing and promotion of authors and articles 25. Third-party licensing and negotiation 7

Implementing Free the Science


s we lead the movement for open access and define principles of open science in our field, technology becomes an ever important factor in knowledge creation and knowledge sharing. The implementation plan we have developed is a fluid strategy that allows us to understand the current environment, and redefine and adjust our plans based both on funding and technology advancement. We have created an advisory board to guide us through the transition and outlined a road map for the next decade that includes an assessment of our technology and financial resource needs. In addition to the logistics of Free the Science, we are planning a full education or socialization of our new model so that our expanding community can be satisfied stakeholders in the transition.

advance healthcare

mitigate climate change

Together we can Free the Science. 8

Our timeline stretches to 2024 and we have built-in mileposts along this path to reassess and potentially refocus our aspirations. For Free the Science to be successful, we need the full support of our membership, industry that benefits from the research we publish, technology partners, and foundations and visionaries who are committed to spearheading change in how science is designed, conducted, and shared.

Standing Out to Sea: You Can Free the Science

In the first volume of the Transactions of the American Electrochemical Society from the inaugural meeting in 1902, Society Co-Founder Joseph Richards wrote: “…the first meeting has been an enthusiastic success, the organization now exists, its future assured of usefulness. With confidence we stand out to sea.” Richards and his peers were revolutionaries and risk-takers, recognizing the significance of our sciences for future progress, and those traits are built into our DNA. Today, we stand out to sea again, assured that embracing open access and open science will not only aid progress but will also secure ECS’s future and its place as a leading scientific organization. For Free the Science to be successful, we need the full support of our membership, industry, technology partners, and foundations and visionaries who are committed to spearheading change in how science is designed, conducted, and shared. We invite you to join us on this next evolution to Free the Science and solidify ECS’s role as a forward thinking, independent, nonprofit scientific society. Your generosity is not only a gift to ECS, it is a gift to humanity, as we advance scientific information for the betterment of our entire society. The Electrochemical Society

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