Full article: Platelets and open access – a new era dawns

“For these reasons, we can now confirm that the decision has been made to transform Platelets into a fully open access journal. This will be implemented during a period of transition over the rest of 2022, with the switch completed by the beginning of 2023. It will mean that, going forward, all articles accepted for publication in Platelets will attract an Article Processing Charge (APC) and will be fully and freely accessible to all readers. We are pleased that the proposed APC is lower than it has been previously for our journal and is overall a rate competitive with journals of similar scope and stature….”

A practical ‘How-To’ Guide to plain language summaries (PLS) of peer-reviewed scientific publications: results of a multi-stakeholder initiative utilizing co-creation methodology | Research Involvement and Engagement | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Peer-reviewed scientific publications and congress abstracts are typically written by scientists for specialist audiences; however, patients and other non-specialists are understandably interested in the potential implications of research and what they may mean for them. Plain language summaries (PLS)—summaries of scientific articles in easy-to-read language—are emerging as a valuable addition to traditional scientific publications. Co-creation of PLS with the intended audience is key to ensuring a successful outcome, but practical guidance on how to achieve this has been lacking.


Building on the Patient Engagement (PE) Quality Guidance previously developed by Patient Focused Medicines Development (PFMD), a multi-stakeholder working group (WG) of individuals with patient engagement experience and/or expertise in PLS was established to develop further activity-specific guidance. PLS guidance was developed through a stepwise approach that included several rounds of co-creation, public consultation (two rounds), internal review and a final external review. The iterative development process incorporated input from a wide variety of stakeholders (patient representatives, industry members, publishers, researchers, medical communications agencies, and public officials involved in research bodies). Feedback from each step was consolidated by the WG and used for refining the draft guidance. The final draft was then validated through external consultation.


The WG comprised 14 stakeholders with relevant experience in PE and/or PLS. The WG developed a set of 15 ethical principles for PLS development. These include the necessity for objective reporting and the absence of any promotional intent, the need for balanced presentation, the importance of audience focus, the need to apply health literacy principles, and the importance of using inclusive and respectful language. The first public consultation yielded 29 responses comprising 478 comments or edits in the shared draft guidance. The second public consultation was an online survey of 14 questions which had 32 respondents. The final ‘How-To’ Guide reflects feedback received and provides a rational, stepwise breakdown of the development of PLS.


The resulting ‘How-To’ Guide is a standalone, practical, ready-to-use tool to support multi-stakeholder co-creation of PLS.

Full article: Putting plain language summaries into perspective

“Thanks to the open science movement, and especially open access publishing, it is becoming easier for readers outside of large research institutions to access research articles for free. The proportion of research articles that are openly available has been increasing year over year1. This increase in open access has removed one important barrier to accessing research information. However, another key barrier to access is understanding. After all, what is the point of research information being openly available if only a tiny proportion of the people who have access to it can understand the technical language it’s written in? …”


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….”


“AcaWiki enables you to easily post summaries and literature reviews of peer-reviewed research. Many summaries on AcaWiki come up high on Google results. Please read our posting guidelines before proceeding. If you want to find summaries or literature reviews of peer-reviewed research, you can either browse summaries or search.”

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.



Watching preprints evolve | Nature Reviews Immunology

“In February 2021, Nature Reviews Immunology launches the first of its monthly ‘Preprint Watch’ columns. Here, we explain the rationale for our coverage of preprints and the precautions we have taken to guard against their improper use….

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated the rapid dissemination of results, has fuelled some of this increase, with approximately one-quarter (463) of the 2020 ‘immunology’ preprints on bioRxiv containing the search term ‘COVID-19’ or ‘SARS-CoV-2’. It also seems clear from these numbers that even in non-pandemic times, preprints are here to stay. At Nature Reviews Immunology, we anticipate that the accelerated acceptance of the value of preprints that has occurred in 2020 will translate to long-term changes in their use, and we are well placed to respond to these changes….

[I]n April 2020 Nature Reviews Immunology began a collaboration with the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine, New York, USA (the Sinai Immunology Review Project; SIRP)2, to publish short ‘In Brief’ summaries (for example, ref.3) on a weekly basis of the most relevant, new COVID-19-related preprints (for example, ref.4), many of which have since been published in high-profile journals (for example, ref.5). We were mindful of the potential dangers of highlighting and publicizing non-peer-reviewed results, but we were reassured by the system that SIRP had established to scan, filter and review preprints, involving both early career researchers (ECRs) and faculty members. This curation of the preprint literature at a time when journals and editors were overwhelmed with submissions was an essential service to the community, and the training in peer review for ECRs who were shut out of the lab should pay future dividends. In June 2020, a second group from the University of Oxford, UK (the OxImmuno Literature Initiative), operating under a similar system, also began to contribute regular preprint summaries (for example, refs6,7)….

We share your concerns about media reporting of incomplete or misleading data that might damage public trust in science. For this reason, we are maintaining a cautious approach to preprints, covering only a few select papers picked by experts after careful review. …”


Machine-generated summaries of three articles are published for the first time as part of a Nature Index supplement | Corporate Affairs Homepage | Springer Nature

“Escalating computing power, expanding data sets, and algorithms of unprecedented sophistication have led to a massive increase in the number of journal and conference papers referring to AI in recent years. The Nature Index AI supplement, published today, draws on Nature Index data and the larger Dimensions* from Digital Science database to analyse this rapidly advancing and controversial topic. For the first time, the supplement also includes summaries of research articles created using AI, and it looks more broadly at how AI is being used in scholarly publishing. …”

Introducing TLDRs on Semantic Scholar | by Semantic Scholar | AI2 Blog | Nov, 2020 | Medium

“TLDRs (Too Long; Didn’t Read) are super-short summaries of the main objective and results of a scientific paper, generated using expert background knowledge and the latest GPT-3 style NLP techniques. This new feature is now available in beta for nearly 10 million computer science papers and counting in Semantic Scholar.

Staying up to date with scientific literature is a key part of any researchers’ workflow, and parsing a long list of papers from various sources by reading paper abstracts is time-consuming. The new TLDR feature in Semantic Scholar puts single-sentence, automatically-generated paper summaries right on the search results and author pages, allowing you to quickly locate the right papers and spend your time reading what matters to you….”

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]….”