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Open Scholarship

Unboxing Open Scholarship - Events

Unboxing Open Scholarship is a programme of events advancing engagement and debate around what Open Scholarship means for the Trinity College Dublin community.

The rationale for developing a series of events exploring Open Scholarship is to: 

  1. Ascertain the levels of Open Scholarship knowledge that exist across the Trinity community 
  2. Gain an insight into how researchers might react to the increasing number of Open Scholarship mandates 
  3. Facilitate reflection on individual and collective scholarly practice 
  4. Identify skills gaps/knowledge deficits to inform future work of the task force  
  5. Provide a test-bed for sentiment towards Open Scholarship which will prove useful at a later date, should university policy be reviewed. The figure below identifies some of the events that have taken place so far this year.
Date Title Approach Number of Attendees
8th February & 23rd April 2019 Open Scholarship – Starting the Trinity Conversation!  Focus group sessions with TCD community that focused on what open scholarship is; asked how Trinity should engage with it; explored staff and student concerns regarding open scholarship and potential areas of opportunity TCD could explore. These events are utilised in part to inform the agenda of the taskforce and future events.  61
12th March 2019 ‘Open Research – Take Back Control’ with Dr. Conor O’Carroll, SciPol  Dr. Conor O’Carroll provided a comprehensive introduction to key concepts and processes focusing primarily on Open Access to Publications; research culture as a barrier to embracing Open Scholarship and measures universities can introduce to incentivise researchers to embrace Open Scholarship. Listen to the event here!  45
26th April 2019 Curing the Pathologies of Academic Publishing with Prof. Mike Eisen Prof. Eisen, a renowned Biology Professor at UC Berkeley & co-founder of the Public Library of Science (PLOS) spoke about disrupting research cultures. In conversation with the College Librarian and Archivist, he shared his views on the disadvantages of journals and offered his predictions for the future of academic publishing.  The Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund supported this event. 
View the event here! 
1st May 2019 'The Hidden World of Academic Publishing' - Screening of Paywall movie followed by Discussion As part of Trinity Week 2019, a screening of the movie ‘Paywall: The Business of Scholarship’ was followed by an interactive audience-response to the film’s major findings by taskforce member Dr James Smith. Watch the movie here!  19


Closing the Loop 

The publication of Plan S in September 2018 and the subsequent public consultation on its implementation guidance document in early 2019, provided a substantial number of responses from researchers, representative bodies, universities, publishers and libraries. The taskforce conducted some comparative analysis on data gathered during the unboxing open scholarship events to identify key issues raised during discussions. In figure 2, a word-cloud analyses of the discourse from our March and April focus group sessions provides a sense of the substantive issues.


The major themes that have arisen during the unboxing events series are: 

Quality Assurance: necessity for the same scientific rigor in how publications are reviewed for quality purposes (including the importance of the peer-review process, fostering prestige in OA journals) 

Resources: funding is required for appropriate infrastructure, training and people with expertise to assist with implementing Open Scholarship practices (inc. FAIR Data, data storage, informational repository for quality OA journals etc.) 

Equity of Access: new forms of scholarly publishing and communication should not be exclusionary to researchers from any background on any basis (inc. Global South, underfunded disciplines etc.) 

Incentivisation: research performing organisations (including universities & funders) need to implement policies that incentivise and promote practices which align with OS principles (inc. reviewing academic career frameworks, challenging research culture, FAIR data principles etc.) 

These themes have guided the work of the taskforce; in order to understand concerns around incentivisation, the taskforce considered the approaches of other institutions to research assessment for the purposes of recruitment, promotions and tenure, most notably the Academic Career Framework and Promotions Processes of University College London. Researchers’ thoughts on the global Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) which seeks to improve the way scholarly research is valued, have been tabled at the University’s Research Committee. Furthermore, a ‘Cultures of Evaluation’ event is being arranged for September 2019, which will explore how we evaluate the quality of research and initiate a forum for discussion about this in TCD. Other planned events include a workshop on FAIR data principles; a Citizen Science themed event; a workshop on EU Copyright law and a panel event exploring the practicalities of Plan S. 

The taskforce is currently engaging with TCD student journals and publications to identify how they can embrace OS, celebrate existing and future research, as well as increase the reach of student scholarship to a global audience. 

The Hidden World of Academic Publishing

1st May 12:00pm-2:00pm, Robert Emmet Theatre, Arts Building.

A screening of the documentary ‘Paywall: The Business of Scholarship’ took place as part of Trinity Week's series of events exploring the theme 'Silence'. Dr. James Smith (Research Fellow, Department of Geography and Taskforce member) provided a reflection on the documentary's major findings before discussion opened to the audience.

“Curing the Pathologies of Academic Publishing” with Mike Eisen, a lunchtime event organised by Trinity’s Open Scholarship Taskforce and Science Gallery Dublin

26th April, 12:00pm-2:00pm, Paccar Theatre, Science Gallery Dublin.

Michael Eisen is a renowned Biology Professor at UC Berkeley and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He works primarily on flies, and his research encompasses evolution, development, genetics, genomics, chemical ecology and behaviour. He is a strong proponent of Open Access publishing and Open Scholarship, and a co-founder of the Public Library of Science (PLOS), a San Francisco based non-profit advocacy organisation and publisher dedicated to making the world’s scientific and medical literature freely available. Mike also recently became Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious Open Access Journal eLife.

Mike gave a talk about his background, of how research culture can be an obstacle to embracing Open Scholarship, his concerns regarding Publishers, as well as the context for establishing PLOS in the early 2000s. The Librarian and College Archivist Ms. Helen Shenton was then ‘In conversation’ with Mike before the event was opened to the audience for their questions.

'Unboxing' Open Scholarship - Starting the Trinity Conversation!

23rd April, 1:00pm - 2:30pm, Studio 1, Science Gallery.

This session brought together the TCD community to identify where Trinity wants to be in the open scholarship landscape. What is or will be mandatory? Where will we lead? Where should we follow and how best should we support our research community? These questions and more were explored. 

'Open Research - Take Back Control' with Dr Conor O'Carroll

‘Why researchers should take responsibility for ensuring their work is of the highest quality and disseminated globally to the widest possible audience’ - Presentation by Dr Conor O’Carroll (SciPol)


In the first unboxing open scholarship event, participants were asked to consider what Open Scholarship means for our college community. A key concern raised at that event was of quality: how do we ensure that Open Access publications across disciplinary divides will receive the same rigorous attention currently in place. To address this, and the issue of how research culture can function as a barrier to embracing Open Scholarship, SciPol’s Dr. Conor O’Carroll facilitated an informative and engaging discussion. Conor is an internationally renowned expert in the development and implementation of national and European research and innovation policies and strategies. His current focus is on researcher career development and mobility in the context of Open Scholarship.