A Year of Editor Spotlights: Thoughts on Open Science and Community Engagement

In this post, we are excited to feature thoughts on Open Science and Community Engagement by our Academic Editors.

This post is part of our “A Year of Editor Spotlights” series to celebrate the work and contribution of our Editorial Board members in our Editor Spotlight.

Please check out the rest of the series:

“A Year of Editor Spotlights: Editorial Board Experience” to read about PLOS ONE Editorial Board experiences by our Academic Editors.

“A Year of Editor Spotlights: Tips from Academic Editors” to read tips for Academic Editors, Authors and Early-Career Researchers from our Academic Editors.

On Open Science and Policies

The request of transparency reported in the Inclusivity policy of PLOS is an effective tool to ascertain the high standards for research ethics.

Andrea Zerboni

Open source offers a broad population of experts to use, modify, and distribute the source code, which is incredibly important for processing and modelling scientific data.

Branislav Šiler

Overall and beyond the transparency issue, I consider data and code sharing help researchers by facilitating and driving the creation of new collaborations and partnerships.

Haroldo V. Ribeiro

Open science makes it easy for physicians and researchers to get access to new data. My papers published in PLOS ONE or another open access journal are the most read and most cited.

Mabel Aoun

I would say that the impacts of the development of Open Access (OA) are double-edged. On the positive side, there are probably more opportunities now to boost the readership… On the other hand, (maintaining) the quality of OA journals… is a crucial issue.

Kuo-Cherh Huang

By providing an open and inclusive platform for scientific communication, PLOS ONE… can facilitate knowledge sharing, data accessibility, methodological advancements, and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Achraf El Allali

I view Open Access options as an important part of the future of scholarly publishing. It ensures access to information for students and researchers who might not otherwise have the means to obtain it.

Pierluigi Vellucci

Personally, I have experienced the benefits of open science in both replicating and validating different aspects of my research over time. Utilizing openly available resources has facilitated efficient comparisons with results obtained from similar studies.

Camelia Delcea

Open Science, to me, is the way forward. However, obtaining and achieving the main six principles of Open Science will require sustained efforts to create awareness and educate the community about its importance and contributions in the long run.

Ooi Pei Boon

On Community Engagement

As all researchers know, having patient public involvement is really important – I have engaged in a lot of PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) work and also public engagement to ensure I have got the information back to the right people.

Lindsay Bottoms

I believe that research must be inclusive. I meet regularly with the members of the committee who are government workers and traditional leaders delivering services to the communities in which I conduct my research… Identifying the most appropriate interventions through this approach reduces research waste.

Sandra Boatemaa Kushitor

Disclaimer: Views expressed by contributors are solely those of individual contributors, and not necessarily those of PLOS.

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Clickbait or conspiracy? How Twitter users address the epistemic uncertainty of a controversial preprint – Mareike Bauer, Maximilian Heimstädt, Carlos Franzreb, Sonja Schimmler, 2023

Abstract:  Many scientists share preprints on social media platforms to gain attention from academic peers, policy-makers, and journalists. In this study we shed light on an unintended but highly consequential effect of sharing preprints: Their contribution to conspiracy theories. Although the scientific community might quickly dismiss a preprint as insubstantial and ‘clickbaity’, its uncertain epistemic status nevertheless allows conspiracy theorists to mobilize the text as scientific support for their own narratives. To better understand the epistemic politics of preprints on social media platforms, we studied the case of a biomedical preprint, which was shared widely and discussed controversially on Twitter in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Using a combination of social network analysis and qualitative content analysis, we compared the structures of engagement with the preprint and the discursive practices of scientists and conspiracy theorists. We found that despite substantial engagement, scientists were unable to dampen the conspiracy theorists’ enthusiasm for the preprint. We further found that members from both groups not only tried to reduce the preprint’s epistemic uncertainty but sometimes deliberately maintained it. The maintenance of epistemic uncertainty helped conspiracy theorists to reinforce their group’s identity as skeptics and allowed scientists to express concerns with the state of their profession. Our study contributes to research on the intricate relations between scientific knowledge and conspiracy theories online, as well as the role of social media platforms for new genres of scholarly communication.


Preprints, conspiracy theories and the need for platform governance | Impact of Social Sciences

“One of the major trends during the COVID-19 pandemic was an uptick in the volume of research being posted as preprints prior to formal peer review. Mareike Fenja Bauer and Maximilian Heimstädt explore one instance of how a preprint was integral to the construction of conspiracy theories and suggest how better platform governance might mitigate these risks.”

Biomedical Publisher Future Science Group Joins Taylor & Francis

“Knowledge services provider Taylor & Francis has today announced the addition of Future Science Group (FSG), publisher of medical, biotechnological and scientific research. As well as bringing a portfolio of cutting-edge journals and digital hubs, FSG’s leading publishing solutions program will enable Taylor & Francis to offer researchers and medical communication planners a host of additional services. Taylor & Francis now becomes the fourth largest publisher of pharma-funded research, with the addition of 32 peer-reviewed FSG journals and five digital hubs. These complement the existing range of over 340 Taylor & Francis medical and healthcare journals, including the Expert Collection, which is the world’s largest series of review journals in research, development and clinical medicine. FSG publications represent many of the most important and fast-growing fields of scientific, medical and pharmaceutical research, including oncology, medicinal chemistry, immunotherapy, microbiology, nanomedicine and biotechnology. Researchers can choose to publish open access (OA) in all FSG journals, with 15 titles fully OA.”

Program Associate, Open Science [PUBLIC] – Google Docs

“The Open Science team is seeking a contract Program Associate to help drive the execution of open science initiatives. You will manage and assist the development and operations of grant programs to support programmatic work, and help coordinate with the broader CZ Scienor team and the external community to help the team meet strategic goals. The ideal candidate will have an understanding of open science practices, how open source software, open data, and collaborative platforms are used in science, and how open communities function.”





Quantitative research assessment: using metrics against gamed metrics | Internal and Emergency Medicine

Abstract:  Quantitative bibliometric indicators are widely used and widely misused for research assessments. Some metrics have acquired major importance in shaping and rewarding the careers of millions of scientists. Given their perceived prestige, they may be widely gamed in the current “publish or perish” or “get cited or perish” environment. This review examines several gaming practices, including authorship-based, citation-based, editorial-based, and journal-based gaming as well as gaming with outright fabrication. Different patterns are discussed, including massive authorship of papers without meriting credit (gift authorship), team work with over-attribution of authorship to too many people (salami slicing of credit), massive self-citations, citation farms, H-index gaming, journalistic (editorial) nepotism, journal impact factor gaming, paper mills and spurious content papers, and spurious massive publications for studies with demanding designs. For all of those gaming practices, quantitative metrics and analyses may be able to help in their detection and in placing them into perspective. A portfolio of quantitative metrics may also include indicators of best research practices (e.g., data sharing, code sharing, protocol registration, and replications) and poor research practices (e.g., signs of image manipulation). Rigorous, reproducible, transparent quantitative metrics that also inform about gaming may strengthen the legacy and practices of quantitative appraisals of scientific work.


Responsible Research Assessment | Open Science Talk

Abstract:  Felix Schönbrodt, Professor of Psychology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich, tells about an initiative that he coordinates within the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie (German Psychological Society). Motivated by the Reproducibility Crisis and a rising frustration with the publishers of high-ranking journals, Schönbrodt has co-authored three position papers on the theme of responsible research assessment. The suggestion is to develop a two-stage evaluation system for hiring, the first of which will use responsible metrics with emphasis on open data, pre-registration and several aspects of reproducibility, whereas the second stage will focus on a qualitative (content-oriented) evaluation of selected candidates. The propositions of Schönbrodt’s group have so far led to published feedback from more than 40 different scholars. Besides his nation-wide work within the German Psychological Society, Schönbrodt is the managing director of LMU’s Open Science Centre, where scholars from different disciplines convene for workshops on various aspects of Open Science. Under the nickname «nicebread» (Schön = nice, Brodt = bread), he also runs a personal blog and a project webpage on GitHub.


Helping Others Use Your Data: Lessons From the Field of Neuroscience – YouTube

“So you’ve created an amazing dataset that you would love for other researchers to have access to. What’s next? Join experts from NeuroImaging Data Model (NIDM) and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics to learn about metadata: what it is, why it is important, and how the OSF and other tools can make it easy for you to include it with your project materials so others can find the data you’ve worked so hard to curate. The STEM Education Hub is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) award DRL-1937698. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within the STEM Education Hub are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of NSF.”

Open Science | CEC Division for Research

“To help inform the special education research community, these briefs feature information on prominent open science practices. Content comes from our series of short articles in the DR newsletter, Focus on Research, as well as additional content developed by DR members.

Open science is an umbrella terms that refers to practices aiming to make all stages of science more open and transparent. Although some have argued that open science can make research more trustworthy, impactful, and efficient in special education (Cook et al., 2018), there is a lack of clarity in the field about what open-science practices are, their primary benefits and potential obstacles, and how to access resources for implementing them. In this brief, we discuss arguably the best-known aspect of open science: open access….”

Guest Post — Concrete Models for Educational Data Sharing

“Deciding how to structure the data frames and other accoutrement in a manner that could be comprehended by others for use in secondary analysis or to reproduce our findings is a challenge, and we are still working to improve the model. It takes a lot of time and effort to create the structure, generate the documents, and review everything for accuracy and coherence. We aspire to begin using R Markdown or Quarto to automate some of the data visualization and reporting in the near future. Recent efforts also include development of Interpretation and Use Statements for various measures, and we might return to the published projects and add those at a later date.

Learning to share data has been a long and arduous process, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to data sharing. For the Schoen Lab, data sharing is a way to enhance transparency and magnify the potential legacy of the effort we put forth in primary data collection. It is exciting to know that we are contributing to the movement to enhance the transparency and value of educational research. We sincerely hope that the measures, the data, the replication code, and the model for sharing the data can be useful to other researchers. 

We encourage readers to examine the structures we have used to share data. We hope these examples can provide others with examples to follow (and improve upon). If you find the model (or the data) to be useful, or if you have suggestions for ways to improve the model, we will be happy to hear from you!”

“Publishing isn’t just a single stepping stone” | Research Information

“Throughout my time at OUP we’ve seen evolution of the perception of the value that a university press should bring through its curation and development of projects. We’ve invested a lot of time in our responses to open access – one of the most significant changes over the time that I’ve been in publishing, even if it has only impacted books to a relatively low level to date….

Some of the OA pilots and initiatives coming through also mean that a researcher needn’t be at an institution with deep reserves to fund Open Access, and in some cases needn’t be affiliated to an academic institution at all, but still see their work published and made widely available online, and this will make it easier for less well represented voices to make it through….”

ResearchGate and AAAS announce new Journal Home partnership | Research Information

“ResearchGate, the professional network for researchers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society, have announced a new partnership that will see all AAAS Science Partner Journals benefit from enhanced visibility and reach through ResearchGate’s new Journal Home offering. 

AAAS, a leading publisher of cutting-edge research renowned for its Science family of journals, launched its Science Partner Journal (SPJ) program in 2017. Consisting of 14 high-quality, fully open access journals produced in collaboration with international research institutions, foundations, funders, and societies, the SPJ program will now expand its reach through Journal Home on ResearchGate. With Journal Home, all version-of-record content from the 14 SPJs will be available to researchers on ResearchGate, including all archive content, and all new articles on publication. Reading usage data will be consistently provided to AAAS via COUNTER-compliant reporting that can be included in institutional usage reporting, providing increased value for institutional customers.

ResearchGate will create dedicated journal profiles on the platform that will be prominently featured on all associated articles and touchpoints on ResearchGate, significantly boosting the visibility of these titles with highly relevant authors and readers….”

Publishing your research work: Updated concepts and nuances of few metrics used to assess journal quality – PubMed

Abstract:  Authors have a multitude of options for journals for publishing their research. However, their choice is mostly based on academic credits required for promotion, cost of publication, timeliness of process, etc., The purpose of this narrative review is to enlighten the authors about some other journal metrics used to assess journal ranking and quality in international scenario. The main concepts discussed in this paper are the impact factor and cite score. The paper includes an explanation of terms like web of science, journal citation reports, and how they are related to impact factor. This will help the authors to make the right decision about choosing the right journal for publishing their research. Along with the historic concepts we have included the latest updates about changes being made to the journal citation report and impact factor released in 2023 June. Hopefully with the review paper, we will be able to encourage the inclusion of such concepts and curriculum of post-graduation courses considering publishing a paper and choosing a journal are an integral aspect of a researcher’s work life.