The Project

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 10 years.
  1. 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.
  1. Calculate the geometric ratio (to account for skewed distributions) of pledger citations to total citations, separately for each year, and average yearly ratios.

Researchers will be able to select a threshold (0 - 95%, in steps of 5%) that matches their level of commitment and perceived risk associated with the proposed research practice (e.g. senior researchers are typically more free to embrace change than early career researchers or underrepresented minorities). This strategy will also help to build momentum for the campaign as progressively larger thresholds are unlocked and mitigate disruption that might otherwise be caused by the sudden influx of users to open research systems.

For campaigns relating to scholarly publishing, pledgers will also select which authorship position/s their pledge will apply to (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 dictating their junior first-author colleagues' choice of journal).

The Team

Cooper Smout (Founder, Project Lead)

Alfred Garcia (Lead Developer)

Pere Picornell (Developer)

If you'd like to join the team or become an ambassador, please get in touch!