The rise of preprints — University Affairs

“Peer review, despite its flaws, is one of the most important pillars of the scientific process. So preprint servers, which make scientific papers that have yet to be reviewed or published available online, have been slow to catch on in many fields.

But then came the pandemic.

“COVID changed everything,” says Jim Handman, executive director of the Science Media Centre of Canada. Scientists, science communicators, and journalists who had been wary of using preprints in the past suddenly felt the urgency to get important new information out as fast as possible to help deal with the unprecedented public health threat. The use of preprint servers skyrocketed. Now, everyone is adapting to this new way of working, developing best practices to harness the benefits of increased speed and wider reach while mitigating the risks of sharing unreviewed science.

Most of the time, the world of scholarly publishing moves at an almost glacial pace. New publications can take months or even years to wind their way through the process of peer review and publication. Even then, they can be hard to access for most people. So 30 years ago, some scientists started posting their work in online repositories before it had been formally reviewed and published. ArXiv, which shares research on math, physics, and astronomy, was the first to launch in 1991. It was followed by repositories for other subject areas over the next few decades….”

SurveyMonkey Powered Online Survey

“Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond to this survey about eLife. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. 

 

We seek to transform research communication and we’d love to hear your thoughts related to initiatives we’ve got underway.

All questions are optional. Your feedback is anonymous and it will help us better understand the expectations of the community and drive change and innovation in scientific and medical publishing….”

Guest Post – Open Access in Japan: Tapping the Stone Bridge – The Scholarly Kitchen

“April Fool’s Day is not really a thing in Japan, so whereas many companies in the West tend to avoid the first of the month when making important announcements, it is in no way unusual that the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), the nation’s second-largest public-sector research funder chose April 1st, 2022 to unveil its revised open access policy and implementation guidelines with a typical lack of fanfare outside of its home country….

Such a comparatively low-key approach is in line with past precedent as Japanese funding bodies such as JST, have typically opted for a light-touch and iterative approach to open access policies – which for the most part have been developed in consultation with publishers – in contrast to counterparts in other countries that have put forward more radical and headline-generating open access initiatives such as the US OSTP “Holdren Memo”, Plan S, and UKRI’s open access policy announced in mid-2021. Previous versions of the JST open access policy issued in 2013 and 2017 went little remarked upon in many open science circles and were notable for their conciliatory approach, in contrast to the openly-stated ambition to disrupt and reform the world of scholarly publishing of many other funders. Following this consultative tradition, the current policy was circulated in draft form to publisher members of CHORUS, of which JST is a participating funder, for comment prior to publication….

The most noticeable difference between the new policy and previous iterations is the introduction of an embargo period which stipulates that at minimum the Accepted Manuscript (AM) of any paper arising from a project submitted for funding to JST after the go-live date of April 1, 2022, must be made publicly accessible in an institutional or public repository in Japan within 12 months of publication of the resultant journal article. Whilst cautious by European standards, this is the first time that an embargo of any type has been included in the JST policy. In addition to AMs of research articles, the policy covers those of review articles and conference papers. While the revised policy signals a preference for the green route and does not mandate that the VoR be made available open access, publication as an open access article is a “permitted” route and under the new policy, APCs are fully reimbursable from grant money….

Furthermore, it is notable that both the policy and its implementation guidelines are silent on the twin subjects of transformative journals and transformative agreements. …

Advocates of faster and more radical transformation will probably lament the lack of clarity or silence on certain issues – such as a ban on publishing in hybrid journals and gaps around CC BY licensing for the AM – that have become totemic in many open access circles and offer a more lukewarm response. Those in the latter group may find some consolation in the knowledge that in Japan, caution does not necessarily indicate disapproval and is often regarded as a virtue, encapsulated in the phrase: ???????? (Ishibashi wo tataite wataru) “to tap on a stone bridge before crossing.” Cautious progress may initially be slower than those who rush headlong, but caution helps avoids missteps. And you’re still going across the bridge.”

 

The future of research revealed | Elsevier.com | April 20, 2022

“The research ecosystem has been undergoing rapid and profound change, accelerated by COVID-19. This transformation is being fueled by many factors, including advances in technology, funding challenges and opportunities, political uncertainty, and new pressures on women in research. At Elsevier, we have been working with the global research community to better understand these changes and what the world of research might look like in the future. The results were published today in Elsevier’s new Research Futures Report 2.0. The report is free to read and download….”

Job: Preprint Community Manager | preLights

preLights is a preprint highlighting service that is centred around a community of early-career researchers. Launched in 2018, this initiative has gained significant attention from researchers as well as the publishing industry, being nominated for an ALPSP Award for Innovation in Publishing in 2019. We are now looking for the right person to join us for the next phase of community building and the site’s growth and development.

Joining an experienced and successful publishing team, this is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and motivated team player to take a step into publishing or for someone already working in publishing to extend their interest in online communities.

Applicants will have relevant research experience, ideally a PhD in a field that features in preLights’ coverage. They should have a good understanding of the needs of scientists and the growing impact of preprints in biomedical research.

ASAPbio Crowd preprint review 2022 sign-up form

“Following our trial last year, ASAPbio is running further preprint crowd review activities in 2022. Our goal is to provide an engaging environment for researchers to participate in providing feedback on preprints and support public reviews for preprints.

In 2022, we will be coordinating public reviews for different disciplines. We are pleased to say that we are collaborating with SciELO Preprints to also coordinate the review of preprints in Portuguese. This year we will cover the following disciplines:

– Cell biology preprints from bioRxiv (English)
– Biochemistry preprints from bioRxiv (English)
– Infectious diseases preprints from SciELO Preprints (Portuguese)

**This form is for reviewers who will participate in the review of preprints from bioRXiv, to sign up for the review of SciELO Preprints in Portuguese, please complete this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd0wrAa7FLrw8I1j5p9mysWrstehPqDqsn9UPjUbqrwRnQU-A/viewform

We invite researchers in the disciplines above to join our crowd preprint review activities, and particularly encourage early career researchers to participate. The activities will run for three months, from mid May to August 2022….”

New policy: Review Commons makes preprint review fully transparent – ASAPbio

“In a major step toward promoting preprint peer review as a means of increasing transparency and efficiency in scientific publishing, Review Commons is updating its policy: as of 1 June 2022, peer reviews and the authors’ response will be posted by Review Commons to bioRxiv or medRxiv when authors transfer their refereed preprint to the first affiliate journal….”

MPDL is supporting the Peer Community In (PCI) Initiative

Initiated at the request of several Max Planck institutes, the Max Planck Digital Library is supporting the platform „Peer Community in Registered Reports“ by making a one-time funding contribution of 5,000 Euro.

The Peer Community In (PCI) initiative is a non-profit, non-commercial platform that evaluates and recommends preprints in many scientific fields. The overarching aim of this researcher-run organization is to create specific communities of researchers reviewing and recommending, for free, unpublished preprints in their field.

 

Open Science @ Concordia – CRBLM

Conference Open Science @ Concordia 

May 27, 2022 Open science—the movement to make scientific processes and outputs available and accessible to all—is here to stay and is profoundly changing the way we do research. The transition to the open-by-design and by-default model described in the Government of Canada’s Roadmap for Open Science is a call to action in areas as diverse as open access, open data, open notebooks, open evaluation, open educational resources, open innovation, open-source software, open governments, and citizen science. As a next-generation university, Concordia is positioned to become an open science leader both nationally and internationally.

The Open Science @Concordia conference will be a celebration of past efforts towards openness and the kickoff for Concordia’s transition to becoming a fully open institution. The day-long event will bring together advocates, enthusiasts, and other stakeholders in open science from across Concordia’s faculties and other regional institutions. Events include keynote talks featuring international speakers, interdisciplinary lightning-talk sessions, and lunch time roundtables. With plenty of free food and drink, and ample time for exchange and discussion, Open Science @Concordia will be the perfect opportunity to meet with the open community and help open science gain momentum. Attendees are welcome from any institution. Join us either virtually or in-person at the Loyola Jesuit Hall and Conference Centre on a day for the democratization of knowledge without barriers. Registration is free, but is required for in-person attendance.

eLife welcomes Fiona Hutton as new Head of Publishing | For the press | eLife

eLife is pleased to announce Fiona Hutton as its new Head of Publishing.

Originally a life scientist specialising in cancer virology, Hutton brings 20 years of STM publishing experience to eLife, including her most recent positions as Head of STM Open Access Publishing and Executive Publisher at Cambridge University Press, UK. She formally begins her role with eLife today, taking over from Interim Head of Publishing Peter Rodgers.

Making Science More Open Is Good for Research—but Bad for Security

But a new paper in the journal PLoS Biology argues that, while the swell of the open science movement is on the whole a good thing, it isn’t without risks. 

 

Though the speed of open-access publishing means important research gets out more quickly, it also means the checks required to ensure that risky science isn’t being tossed online are less meticulous. In particular, the field of synthetic biology—which involves the engineering of new organisms or the reengineering of existing organisms to have new abilities—faces what is called a dual-use dilemma: that while quickly released research may be used for the good of society, it could also be co-opted by bad actors to conduct biowarfare or bioterrorism. It also could increase the potential for an accidental release of a dangerous pathogen if, for example, someone inexperienced were able to easily get their hands on a how-to guide for designing a virus. “There is a risk that bad things are going to be shared,” says James Smith, a coauthor on the paper and a researcher at the University of Oxford. “And there’s not really processes in place at the moment to address it.”

 

GigaScience and GigaByte Groups Join Sciety

Over the last month, we have added two new groups, GigaScience and GigaByte, from the journals of the same name, increasing the number of specialist teams displaying their evaluations on Sciety.

GigaScience and GigaByte are part of GigaScience Press. With a decade-long history of open-science publishing, they aim to revolutionise publishing by promoting reproducibility of analyses and data dissemination, organisation, understanding, and use. As open-access and open-data journals, they publish all research objects (publishing data, software and workflows) from ‘big data’ studies across the life and biomedical sciences. These resources are managed using the FAIR Principles for scientific data management and stewardship, which state that research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. They also follow the practices of transparency and openness in science publishing, and as such, they embrace open peer review (which is mandated for both journals) and preprints (which are strongly encouraged in GigaScience and mandated for GigaByte). The opportunities for combining both are covered by GigaScience in its video on open science and preprint peer review for Peer Review Week.

 

Step in the Right Direction: IntechOpen Launches a Portfolio of Open Science Journals | IntechOpen

“All three journals will publish under an Open Access model and embrace Open Science policies to help support the changing needs of academics in these fast-moving research areas. There will be direct links to preprint servers and data repositories, allowing full reproducibility and rapid dissemination of published papers to help accelerate the pace of research. Each journal has renowned Editors in Chief who will work alongside a global Editorial Board, delivering robust single-blind peer review. Supported by our internal editorial teams, this will ensure our authors will receive a quick, user-friendly, and personalised publishing experience….”