Plain?language summaries: An essential component to promote knowledge translation – Gudi – – International Journal of Clinical Practice – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  In this era of evidence?based practice, scholarly work such as peer?reviewed scientific publications plays a vital role in policy and decision?making at an individual, organisation and country?level. Alongside being considered an essential means of communicating scholarly work, scientific publications also investigate the specific domains that lack well?established literature and thereby inform scientists and researchers to thrive for the betterment of the publics’ well?being. Thus, the main purpose of articulating the scientific, scholarly work should be to make it understandable and accessible to everyone, including the lay audience. However, oftentimes, researchers overlook the lay summaries while publishing the research findings.



Introducing the Open Pharma recommendations for multi-stakeholder plain language summaries of publications: now inviting public consultation – Open Pharma – Innovations in medical publishing

“Over the last few months, the Open Pharma Accessibility workstream has been hard at work, drafting our recommendations for the ‘minimum standard’ for multi-stakeholder plain language summaries of publications. These recommendations were the focus of the January 2021 Roundtable, during which we heard feedback on the recommendations from Open Pharma Members, Supporters and key Advisers.

Now, we’re asking for your input! The one-page recommendations document is available to read on our figshare page. If you have any thoughts, questions or comments, or if you just want your voice to be heard, you can email us at or join the conversation on Twitter. Please make sure to share your insights before the end of the consultation period on 31 March 2021!…”

On COVID-19, cognitive bias, and open access | PNAS

“The scientific literature, with its impenetrable jargon, field-specific methodologies, and assumptions of familiarity with a specific body of knowledge, is, for the most part, written for trained scientist readers. It’s certainly not optimally designed for the casual nonspecialist reader, nor should it be, and correcting biases in occasional readers of the scientific literature has not traditionally been the responsibility of the scientific community. The move toward open access publishing, however, in a way, is making it our responsibility, particularly if the idea is that the general public, having provided the means for federal funding of research, is owed immediate access to the products of that research. Making the scientific literature widely and immediately available probably should bring with it an obligation for making not just the data accessible but every aspect of scientific research more accessible….

One small step toward increasing the accessibility of data might be recognizing and addressing potential cognitive biases in an expanded version of a “significance statement,” an element that is appearing in an increasing number of scientific papers….

Today, instructions to authors specify that the Significance Statement should “explain the significance of the research at a level understandable to an undergraduate-educated scientist outside their field of specialty…..

As open access publication becomes the norm across the publishing landscape, making data more accessible while at the same time anticipating and making a greater effort to correct potential cognitive biases may be among many tools that the scientific community can use to reduce the likelihood of misperceptions that can lead to widespread rejection of policies and recommendations based on solid scientific evidence, a cultural phenomenon that appears to have grown as exponentially as COVID-19 in the United States in 2020….”

Open access to health and education research outside academia: perspectives of research users, research intermediaries and researchers – White Rose eTheses Online

Abstract:  The thesis investigates how publics outside academia engage with ideas of open access (OA) to research publications. To do this, it analyses data from interviews with users of health and education research in two non-academic contexts, as well as with researchers interested in communicating their work to wider audiences. It draws on constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006) and situational analysis (Clarke, 2005). The literature review highlighted a need to empirically explore OA outside academia. The study focused on the ways in which publications were accessed and used outside academia and the factors enabling and preventing access. It also explored perceptions of OA within a wider context of communicating research to non- academic audiences, and identified areas of contestation. The study found that there was a demand for OA, although the demand was perceived to be limited. There were significant sources of friction in accessing research publications, including paywalls, which could be circumvented through file/password sharing and drawing on contacts. Conceptual access (e.g. understandability) was also found to prevent engagement with research publications in some cases, although this varied according to levels of expertise. The study identified research intermediaries as playing an important dual role, as they accessed research in order to make it accessible to a wider audience. The study found a disconnect between some OA advocacy and research-user perceptions. and a disconnect between researchers’ commitment to communicating their work outside the academy and their support of OA. Attitudes towards OA were influenced by bureaucratic mandates, high APCs and belief that there would be little demand for their research. Findings indicated however, that OA could complement other forms of research communication in specific contexts. Finally, the study suggested that a narrow focus on ‘tangible outcomes’ for non- academic publics (Moore, 2019) risked obscuring attempts to develop a more equitable scholarly communications system.


Global trends in open access publication and open data – Mills – 2020 – Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics – Wiley Online Library

“This Editorial will summarize some of the recent tendencies of publication explored in a recent Wiley Society Newsletter on the open access movement: . As it turns out, in a recent survey about Society Publications, Wiley determined that no?cost or open access to Society content is the top desire for most researchers. They also found that making journal articles more accessible to nonacademic audiences, greater transparency around peer review, and improving how we measure the impact of research are also highly important.

While three?quarters of members are mostly satisfied with the access to society content that they personally receive as members, only a little more than half are happy with their society’s engagement with open access publishing….”

Galileo and open access

“In writing down their discoveries, Galileo and his contemporaries created the beginnings of the system of scientific correspondence that we know today as scientific journals, where discoveries are openly described by their methods, results, and possible shortfalls. This was quite a contrast to the gnomic writings of alchemists, who cloaked their recipes in mythological allusions and double-talk. The open discourse of the scientific enterprise is one of the abiding gifts of the Renaissance. (Although it is worth noting that Galileo resorted to scrambling news of his findings in code in letters to Kepler.) …”

Science is getting harder to read | Nature Index

“From obscure acronyms to unnecessary jargon, research papers are increasingly impenetrable – even for scientists….

Kipling Williams, a psychologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, who has written about jargon and acronyms hampering science communication, says the increase in technical language only isolates non-specialist readers. 

He adds that academic papers should be written in a more accommodating way for informed readers who are not researchers, such as policymakers, journalists, and patients.

“The public is paying for a lot of this research, and so they should be able to at least get a reasonable handle on what’s being said.” ”

Editorial: ‘Jargon’ in scholarly and public science communication – Hans Peter Peters, 2020

“Yet, accessibility [intelligibility] of scholarly texts by interested readers outside the narrow scientific community is relevant for the widespread demand for more interdisciplinarity and the call for transdisciplinarity, transparency and open science.  Scientific jargon may be thought to facilitate efficient communication among peers who share that discipline-specific language. But the effects of jargon may go beyond that goal and serve functions of identity creation and demarcation – both of science in relation to non-science as a form of scientists’ boundary work (Gieryn) and of creating disciplinary identities within science. Such a function of jargon would actually run counter to the principles of interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity and open science.”

Editorial: ‘Jargon’ in scholarly and public science communication – Hans Peter Peters, 2020

“Yet, accessibility [intelligibility] of scholarly texts by interested readers outside the narrow scientific community is relevant for the widespread demand for more interdisciplinarity and the call for transdisciplinarity, transparency and open science.  Scientific jargon may be thought to facilitate efficient communication among peers who share that discipline-specific language. But the effects of jargon may go beyond that goal and serve functions of identity creation and demarcation – both of science in relation to non-science as a form of scientists’ boundary work (Gieryn) and of creating disciplinary identities within science. Such a function of jargon would actually run counter to the principles of interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity and open science.”

Plain Language Summary of Publication articles: helping disseminate published scientific articles to patients | Future Oncology

“Future Science Group (FSG) is keen to recognize and promote the vital role of patients in medical and scientific research, and as such, has introduced a new article type to its collection – the Plain Language Summary of Publication (PLSP). The present issue of Future Oncology features, as the first in this series, a standalone, peer-reviewed, open access PLSP article [6], which provides a visually enriched summary of a recently published research article [7]. PLSP articles are written to be read and understood by patients, patient advocates, their family members, friends and caregivers. The article will also enable other non-specialist clinicians, research scientists, decision-makers and a range of professionals in the health care community to gain an understanding of the research presented.

PLSP articles are written under the assumption that the audience has no background understanding of the study, medical terminology or clinical research in general. Each PLSP, however, will have a different style depending on the subject matter and a ‘personalized’ approach to writing each PLSP will be necessary in order to meet the educational requirements of the intended audience. For example, in the case of rare diseases, where patient readers are often well informed about the subject, a more ‘technically written’ PLSP may be considered. We recommend that all authors planning to write a PLSP first review the PLSP toolkit developed by Envision Pharma with support from PFMD, along with our own author guidelines [8]….”

Content marketing boosts open access adoption | Research Information

“But the lack of widespread adoption of OA is often blamed for slowing down research progress. The truth is, accessing the literature is only half of the story. The other half is the obstacle created by the use of specialised language in the literature. That is, the inability to understand the meaning of the research represents an even greater hindrance than access to multidisciplinary collaboration and open science. It is, therefore, important to carefully consider developing value-added content that is designed to make the original OA research accessible to a wider audience….

This approach requires OA publishers to include the option of adding a marketing fee to the APC….”

A web application to extract key information from journal articles

“Non-expert readers are thus typically unable to understand scientific articles, unless they are curated and made more accessible by third parties who understand the concepts and ideas contained within them. With this in mind, a team of researchers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center in the University of Texas at Austin (TACC), Oregon State University (OSU) and the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) have set out to develop a tool that can automatically extract important phrases and terminology from research papers in order to provide useful definitions and enhance their readability….”

Understanding Open Access Data Using Visuals: Integrating Prospective Studies of Children’s Responses to Natural Disasters | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Background

As access to open data is increasing, researchers gain the opportunity to build integrated datasets and to conduct more powerful statistical analyses. However, using open access data presents challenges for researchers in understanding the data. Visuals allow researchers to address these challenges by facilitating a greater understanding of the information available.


This paper illustrates how visuals can address the challenges that researchers face when using open access data, such as: (1) becoming familiar with the data, (2) identifying patterns and trends within the data, and (3) determining how to integrate data from multiple studies.


This paper uses data from an integrative data analysis study that combined data from prospective studies of children’s responses to four natural disasters: Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Ike. The integrated dataset assessed hurricane exposure, posttraumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, social support, and life events among 1707 participants (53.61% female). The children’s ages ranged from 7 to 16 years (M?=?9.61, SD?=?1.60).


Visuals serve as an effective method for understanding new and unfamiliar datasets.


In response to the growth of open access data, researchers must develop the skills necessary to create informative visuals. Most research-based graduate programs do not require programming-based courses for graduation. More opportunities for training in programming languages need to be offered so that future researchers are better prepared to understand new data. This paper discusses implications of current graduate course requirements and standard journal practices on how researchers visualize data.

Open+: Versioning Open Social Scholarship

Abstract:  Advocates of the Open Access (OA) movement have been fighting for free and unfettered access to research output since the early 1990s. Open access is a crucial element of a fair, efficient scholarly communication system where all are able to find, interpret, and use the results of publicly-funded research. Universal open access is more possible now than ever before, thanks to networked technologies and the development of open scholarship policies. But what happens after access to research is provided? In this paper I argue that versioning scholarship across varying modes and formats would move scholarly communication from a straightforward open access system to a more engaging environment for multiple communities.

[From the body of the paper:] “Here is my suggestion for simultaneously upholding important traditions of humanistic scholarship (e.g. peer review, long-form writing), as well as taking advantage of digital technologies, while committing to open scholarship as a de facto public good and ethical imperative of higher education: versioning. Ideas gain depth and traction as they are brought to light, discussed, reviewed, and refuted. This process of refinement is how we develop convincing arguments. Instead of thinking of “lowbrow” or opular communication mechanisms as outside of the scholarly communication process, or else as a public record or starting point for an idea, what if we considered multiple versions of an argument as equally important and requiring of our sustained effort and attention? The germ of any research output is the main argument or theory—what if that germ was sprouted in various venues and forms? One could simultaneously or sequentially publish a long-form argument via open access academic journal article; work with a journalist or writer colleague to explore the same argument in a more public, online venue—revised as appropriate for such a modality; post a truncated version of the argument on a personal blog as an easy referent; and create short, pithy social media encapsulations of the argument as well. Each mode of engagement will engender different reactions and feedback, as different audiences will collaborate and create knowledge at each interaction point (Arbuckle & Stewart 2017)….”