Jason Papagan Manager of Communications Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society firstname.lastname@example.org
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society, in partnership with the Rita Allen Foundation, welcomes Adriana Bankston, PhD in the position of senior fellow, civic science & public policy. In the new role, Bankston will lead a project that examines science policy engagement at the state level and determines the skills, knowledge, and resources required by scientists to successfully influence public policy.
The Civic Science Fellowship program seeks to broaden engagement with science and research to inform policies and develop solutions for societal challenges. Bankston will work closely with Sigma Xi leadership to develop, launch, and manage an online platform to connect current policy players, showcase policy-engaged organizations, and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds to successfully engage and achieve societal change through policy impact at the state level.
Since 2021, Bankston has served as CEO and managing publisher of The Journal of Science Policy and Governance (JSPG), an internationally recognized non-profit organization and peer-reviewed publication dedicated to empowering early career scientists, engineers, and policy professionals in international science policy debate. She is also a biomedical workforce & policy research investigator at the STEM Advocacy Institute (SAi), where she works to cultivate the next generation workforce through science policy. Finally, Bankston is a fellow with Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS), where she also received the inaugural ARIS Emerging Broader Impacts Leader Award in 2022. She holds a PhD in Biochemistry, Cell, and Developmental Biology from Emory University.
"I am honored to work with Sigma Xi in this new role and contribute to enhancing the connection between science and society through public policy,” said Bankston. “Local engagement of scientists with the policymaking process is critical to developing the next generation of leaders in the field and empowering them to improve society through policy change.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Bankston to the Sigma Xi team,” said Jamie Vernon, executive director and CEO of Sigma Xi. “Her expertise will advance Sigma Xi’s efforts to identify synergies within the science policy training ecosystem and increase efficiency and capacity for creating evidence-informed policy at the state level.”
As the senior fellow for civic science & public policy at Sigma Xi, Bankston will be connected to a national network of Fellows from diverse backgrounds working on a variety of multidisciplinary projects. The Civic Science Fellowship program led by the Rita Allen Foundation promotes a culture of civic science in which scientists engage with local communities through a variety of projects, including fostering connections with policymakers.
More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. www.sigmaxi.org. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety.
The Authors of the Op-Ed have, in turn, submitted a response to the commentary. That response is provided in full below.
In response to Peter Suber and Heather Joseph,
We are grateful to be having this conversation regarding the future of academic publishing. With the planned changes described in the Nelson memo, we believe it is important that all researchers be aware of how they will be affected. The Letter to the Editor by Suber and Joseph highlighted two aspects of our original article and provided additional context that we would like to address.
First, our original article implied that the only way to comply with the changes would be to publish in an open access (OA) journal. We apologize for any misunderstanding; the Nelson memo specifies that all federally funded research must be “freely available and publicly accessible by default in agency-designated repositories without any embargo or delay after publication.” While this does not necessarily require publishing in an OA journal, publishing in a traditional subscription journal and being compliant with the new public access rules requires researchers to be informed of the requirements of the funding agency as well as the rules dictated by the journal. For example, traditional journals may allow self-archiving of the accepted manuscript in a repository, but rules may vary from journal to journal. Additionally, multiple versions of the same manuscript in different locations can lead to version control issues, where changes due to copy-editing and post-publication errata would not be reflected in the repository automatically. Publishing OA avoids these pitfalls as the final published version can be archived.
The second point raised was that not all OA journals charge article processing charges (APCs). Suber and Joseph state that 68% of journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) charge no APCs. We recognize that there are many options for publishing OA with no APC. However, 68% does not tell the entire story. The DOAJ gives a seal to journals that meet their best practice criteria. Only ~8% of the almost 20,000 OA journals they track meet these criteria. However, fewer than 3% of OA journals they track follow the best practices and are free, meaning it is exceedingly rare for a journal to adhere to the highest OA standards and be free of charge. Further, Suber and Joseph state that works published OA are overwhelmingly in journals that charge APCs. Many of the most prestigious journals charge heavily to have articles freely available upon publication. We would argue that the sheer number of free OA journals is not important when federally funded researchers are constrained by universities that continue to weigh publication prestige heavily during hiring, promotion, and tenure reviews.
Dissemination of results is vital to science, and journals play an important role. These policy changes are an important step in making scientific research open and equitable. Researchers at all career levels will be affected, so this continued discourse is valuable. We are grateful to JSPG for publishing this work and to the authors of the Letter to the Editor for their thoughtful input.