Open Textbook Pilot applications open

The Department of Education has announced that proposals are now being accepted for an Open Textbooks Pilot program. They will be awarding between one and three grants up to a total of $5 million dollars.

The priorities for this pilot include:

  • Improve collaboration and dissemination through consortial arrangements
  • Address gaps in the open textbook market and develop solutions that scale
  • Promote degree completion

Inside Higher Ed has an article about the proposal process.

The scope of this program is quite large, and the deadline for submission is August 29th, so interested parties should start working on this right away.

A new way to evaluate research

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada has developed a tool they hope will better measure the quality and impact of research coming out of the global south. They want to ensure that researchers who are working on projects that positively impact their region are evaluated on criteria that make sense. Metrics like citation count and h-index don’t necessarily measure the rigor and usefulness of research.

The IDRC calls this tool Research Quality Plus (RQ+) and it has three parts:

  • Identify contextual factors – political, data, research environment, maturity of the scientific field, and how much the project focuses on capacity strengthening
  • Articulate dimensions of quality – scientific integrity, legitimacy, importance, and positioning for use
  • Use rubrics & evidence – assessments have to be systematic, comparable and based on evidence (both qualitative and quantitative)

You can read more about this tool in Nature or on the IDRC website.

Editors4BetterResearch initiative

Researchers Chris Chambers, Corin Logan, and Brad Wyble have started an initiative called Editors4BetterResearch. They hope to create a database of journal editors who support reproducibility and open science. Right now they are soliciting feedback on their proposal and collecting names of editors who would like to be listed in the database. Their goal is to allow authors who value open and reproducible science to find editors who share their values.