Guest Post – Towards Standardizing Plain Language Summaries: The Open Pharma Recommendations – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Plain language summaries (PLS) of peer-reviewed medical journal publications are summaries of a piece of published literature that simplify highly-specialized terminology and jargon into language everyone can understand. PLS are intended for everyone engaging with medical research, such as patients, patient advocates, caregivers, healthcare professionals and policymakers. Frequently, they are brief, text-based lay abstracts formatted like, and hosted alongside, the scientific abstract. However, consensus on industry standards for PLS is still in its infancy, so other formats in use across the industry include multi-page visual infographics and digital enhancements, usually hosted in the supplementary materials or on third-party websites….

Why write a PLS?

Open science is a human right. Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right freely to […] share in scientific advancement and its benefits”. The concept of open science as it relates to financial availability and open access publishing is already well established, and its principles can be seen in action in the likes of preprints, open source data sets, and open peer review reports, among others….

Accessible open science improves trust and transparency. At a time when public trust in the pharmaceutical industry is low, transparency is more important than ever, and what’s more transparent than sharing accurate and credible research directly with the public, in language they can understand?…

Our recommendations also call for PLS that are directly discoverable and findable instead of being buried in supplementary materials or multiple clicks away on third-party websites. PubMed is one of the most widely-used public databases of medical literature and already has an built-in function for hosting PLS. To be indexed on PubMed, a PLS needs to be text-based, 250 words or less, and tagged accordingly when uploaded by publishers. Therefore, the Open Pharma recommendations advise that PLS should meet these technical requirements. We do recognize, however, that PubMed is not an ideal platform for all stakeholders, and we would welcome future development of a central database for PLS that can match PubMed’s discoverability while providing more options for different content formats, such as infographics and videos to increase understanding and engagement….”

Building Bridges with the Manuscript Exchange Common Approach (MECA) – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Two specific workflows precipitated the formation of MECA, focused on reducing the effort of authors during the submission process, and allowing reviewers to “reuse” reviews. Specifically, MECA is focused on:

Cascading workflows, where articles submitted to a journal are transferred to another journal within a publisher’s family of journals (an effort by publishers to not lose good research to other publishers), and
Preprint servers, and the desire for both preprint servers and publishers to be able to push articles from preprint servers to journals and vice versa….”

IRUS R5: open and flexible access to standardised repository usage data | Jisc

“Join us for the latest version of the IRUS service, based on COUNTER Release 5, that offers more open and flexible ways to access and share standardised, comparable repository usage data. We will give an update on all the R5 developments of the service, a live demonstration of the ‘new look’ website and interface, and upcoming development work. There will be time for questions at the end.

We will cover the following topics:

Changes with COUNTER Release 5 and what it means for IRUS
How to access usage reports and data you need
A demonstration of the new look IRUS service
Upcoming developments and how to get involved…”

The importance of adherence to international standards for depositing open data in public repositories | BMC Research Notes | Full Text

Abstract:  There has been an important global interest in Open Science, which include open data and methods, in addition to open access publications. It has been proposed that public availability of raw data increases the value and the possibility of confirmation of scientific findings, in addition to the potential of reducing research waste. Availability of raw data in open repositories facilitates the adequate development of meta-analysis and the cumulative evaluation of evidence for specific topics. In this commentary, we discuss key elements about data sharing in open repositories and we invite researchers around the world to deposit their data in them.


Brewster Kahle, Lessons From the First Internet Ages

“This leads us to the third battle: the content layer. This is Creative Commons, open-access publishing and Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) versus content licensing restrictions, digital rights management technologies and consolidating publishing companies. Music, television and newspapers have largely adapted to the Internet after years of legal skirmishes. Large text publishing companies are now challenging the right to link to content by active lobbying efforts. Scholarly publishing, traditionally run by thousands of nonprofit associations, has now been consolidated into a few large commercial publishers that lobby legislatures, control regulators (often by “revolving door” hiring practices) and sue libraries. Government funding agencies have made some inroads in requiring open access, but these efforts are continuously challenged, often successfully. Even the concept of digital ownership is debated. This is the battle that Aaron Swartz fought, which led to his arrest and to his death. The lesson here is we will need dedicated government support, philanthropy and institutions in order to protect public access and libraries. Will we win this one? Many people are trying to….”

Dissecting the tension of open science standards implementation in management and organization journals

Abstract:  Growing concerns about the credibility of scientific findings have sparked a debate on new transparency and openness standards in research. Management and organization studies scholars generally support the new standards, while emphasizing the unique challenges associated with their implementation in this paradigmatically diverse discipline. In this study, I analyze the costs to authors and journals associated with the implementation of new transparency and openness standards, and provide a progress report on the implementation level thus far. Drawing on an analysis of the submission guidelines of 60 empirical management journals, I find that the call for greater transparency was received, but resulted in implementations that were limited in scope and depth. Even standards that could have been easily adopted were left unimplemented, producing a paradoxical situation in which research designs that need transparency standards the most are not exposed to any, likely because the standards are irrelevant to other research designs.


Top Publishers Aim To Own The Entire Academic Research Publishing Stack; Here’s How To Stop That Happening | Techdirt

“echdirt’s coverage of open access — the idea that the fruits of publicly-funded scholarship should be freely available to all — shows that the results so far have been mixed. On the one hand, many journals have moved to an open access model. On the other, the overall subscription costs for academic institutions have not gone down, and neither have the excessive profit margins of academic publishers. Despite that success in fending off this attempt to re-invent the way academic work is disseminated, publishers want more. In particular, they want more money and more power. In an important new paper, a group of researchers warn that companies now aim to own the entire academic publishing stack …

To prevent commercial monopolization, to ensure cybersecurity, user/patient privacy, and future development, these standards need to be open, under the governance of the scholarly community. Open standards enable switching from one provider to another, allowing public institutions to develop tender or bidding processes, in which service providers can compete with each other with their services for the scientific workflow.

Techdirt readers will recognize this as exactly the idea that lies at the heart of Mike’s influential essay “Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech”. Activist and writer Cory Doctorow has also been pushing for the same thing — what he calls “adversarial interoperability”. It seems like an idea whose time has come, not just for academic publishing, but every aspect of today’s digital world.”

Beyond open: Key criteria to assess open infrastructure

“Today, we wanted to share more about how we’re examining the open infrastructure and open technology landscape to further equitable, just, and accessible infrastructure, and what’s emerging as our key criteria. These criteria are designed to center community, reliability, and transformative influence into our analysis. Below we elaborate on those attributes….

The criteria below represent our first cut at examining infrastructure for transformative influence, or a demonstration of the intention and ability to create change towards our vision of an equitable, just, and accessible infrastructure for all….”


The Advanced Research Consortium Joins the Open Library Foundation as Project Member | Open Library Foundation

“The Advanced Research Consortium (ARC) has joined the Open Library Foundation as a Project Member. By joining the Open Library Foundation, ARC is able to leverage the community of projects that are part of the Open Library Foundation.

The Advanced Research Consortium (ARC) serves as a hub of humanities virtual research environments or research nodes. ARC provides support, coordination, and a set of evolving standards for more than 200 digital humanities projects that are open access and peer reviewed by five period-specific and thematic research communities, with more projects and communities joining every year. The ARC Catalog is available through BigDIVA (Big Data Infrastructure Visualization Application), a web-based search and discovery service designed for humanities scholars and students….”

Open Grant Proposals · Business of Knowing, summer 2021

“One of those informal frontiers is crowdfunding for scientific research. For the past year, I’ve worked on Experiment, helping hundreds of scientists design and launch crowdfunding campaigns for their research questions. Experiment has been doing this for almost a decade, with more than 1,000 successfully funded projects on the platform. The process is very different than the grant funding mechanisms set up by agencies and foundations. It’s not big money yet, as the average fundraise is still ~$5,000. But in many ways, the process is better: faster, transparent, and more encouraging to early-career scientists. Of all the lessons learned, one stands out for broader consideration: grant proposals and processes should be open by default.

Grant proposals that meet basic requirements for scientific merit and rigor should be posted online, ideally in a standardized format, in a centralized (or several) database or clearinghouse. They should include more detail than just the abstract and dollar amount totals that are currently shown now on federal databases, especially in terms of budgets and costs. The proposals should include a DOI number so that future work can point back to the original question, thinking, and scope. A link to these open grant proposals should be broadly accepted as sufficient for submission to requests from agencies or foundations….

Open proposals would make research funding project-centric, rather than funder-centric….

Open proposals would promote more accurate budgets….

Open proposals would increase the surface area of collaboration….

Open proposals would improve citation metrics….

Open proposals would create an opportunity to reward the best question-askers in addition to the best question-answerers….

Open proposals would give us a view into the whole of science, including the unfunded proposals and the experiments with null results….”

Standards, Inputs, and Outputs: Strategies for improving data-sharing and consortia-based epidemiologic research | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  Data sharing improves epidemiology research, but sharing data frustrates epidemiologic researchers. The inefficiencies of current methods and options for data-sharing are increasingly documented and easily understood by any study that has shared its data and any researcher who has received shared data. Temprosa and Moore et al. (Am J Epidemiol. XXXX;XXX(XX):XXXX–XXXX)) describe how the COnsortium of METabolomics Studies (COMETS) developed and deployed a flexible analytic platform to eliminate key pain points in large-scale metabolomics research. COMETS Analytics includes an online tool, but its cloud computing and technology are supporting, rather than the lead, actors in this script. The COMETS team identified the need to standardize diverse and inconsistent metabolomics and covariate data and models across its many participating cohort studies, and then they developed a flexible tool that gave its member studies choices about how they wanted to meet the consortium’s analytic requirements. Different specialties will have different specific research needs and will likely continue to use and develop an array of diverse analytic and technical solutions for their projects. COMETS Analytics shows how important and enabling the upstream attention to data standards and data consistency are to producing high-quality metabolomics, consortium-based, and large-scale epidemiology research.