Project Free Our Knowledge is a collective action platform that aims to address cultural inertia in the adoption of Open Research practices and tools. Researchers can sign onto the platform using ORCID and pledge to change their behaviour in line with various campaigns (e.g., publish/review exclusively in Open Access journals), but only act on their pledge when a predefined threshold of 'support' is met in their research field (see below). This strategy is designed to instantiate new cultural norms in academia and to ‘kickstart’ initiatives that require a critical mass of support to be competitive, while mitigating risks to vulnerable sectors of the community (e.g., early-career researchers and under-represented minorities).

Campaign Support Thresholds

‘Support’ will be evaluated for each research field using Dimensions in the following manner:

  1. Calculate the total number of citations generated by all articles in a particular research field (e.g., clinical sciences), separately for each of the last 5 years.
  2. Calculate the subtotal of citations generated by publications on which pledgers were an author in the indicated position (first, middle and/or last). This calculation will be facilitated by requiring researchers to make pledges with their ORCID identifier and asking them to maintain their ORCID record.
  3. Calculate the geometric ratio (to account for skewed distributions) of pledger citations to total citations, separately for each year, and average yearly ratios.

Pledgers can select a threshold (0 - 95%, in steps of 5%) that reflects their level of commitment and perceived risk associated with the proposed behaviour (e.g. established researchers can likely select lower thresholds than early career researchers or underrepresented minorities). We anticipate that the sequential activation of pledge thresholds will bring increasing awareness to the platform and give publishers time to adapt as demand for the practice grows.

For campaigns relating to scholarly publishing, pledgers will also select the authorship position/s to which their pledge applies (first, middle, and/or last author papers). This allows flexibility according to each researcher's circumstances (e.g. principle investigators who do not feel comfortable deciding where to submit papers first-authored by junior colleagues).

Our Team

Cooper Smout (Founder, Lead)

Alfred Garcia (Developer)

Kelly Garner (Advisor)

Brian Nosek (Advisor)

Megan Campbell (Advisor)

Jon Tennant (Advisor)

Alex Holcombe (Advisor)

Vincent Larivière (Advisor)

See here if you'd like to join our team!