Development, implementation and impact of a new preprint solicitation process at Proceedings B | Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Preprints are manuscripts posted on a public server that do not yet have formal certification of peer review from a scholarly journal. The increasingly prominent online repositories for these preprints provide a means of rapidly making scientific results accessible to all with an Internet connection. We here describe the catalysis and subsequent development of a successful new process to solicit preprints for consideration for publication in Proceedings B. We present preliminary comparisons between the focal topics and geographic origin of submitting authors of papers submitted in the traditional (non-solicited) route versus solicited preprints. This analysis suggests that the solicitation process seems to be achieving one of the primary goals of the preprint solicitation endeavour: broadening the scope of the papers featured in Proceedings B. We also use an informal survey of the early-career scientists that are or have been involved with the Preprint Editorial Team to find that these scientists view their participation positively with respect to career development and knowledge in their field. The inclusion of early-career researchers from across the world in the preprint solicitation process could also translate into social justice benefits by providing a career-building opportunity and a window into the publishing process for young scientists.

Did You Ask for Citations? An Insight into Preprint Citations en route to Open Science

Abstract:  This study investigates citation patterns between 2017 and 2020 for preprints published in three preprint servers, one specializing in biology (bioRxiv), one in chemistry (ChemRxiv), and another hosting preprints in all disciplines (Research Square). Showing evidence that preprints are now regularly cited in peer reviewed journal articles, books, and conference papers, the outcomes of this investigation further substantiate the value of open science also in relation to citation-based metrics on which the evaluation of scholarship continues to rely on. This analysis will be useful to inform new research-based education in today’s scholarly communication. View Full-Text

 

The Pandemic Made Science More Accessible Than Ever. Let’s Keep It That Way. – Mother Jones

Ready or not, there is evidence the science world is already changing. Publishers who designed the paywalls are now vying to lead the open access race. (Inchcoombe told me that since 2015, Springer Nature has published “more [open access] articles than any other publisher,” while Elsevier told me in a statement that it is “the fastest-growing open-access publisher in the world.”) Meanwhile, their competition—journals that are strictly open-access—have skyrocketed in number over the past decade. And universities, like the UC system, are pursuing new, large-scale open-access agreements, including Iowa State, Carnegie Mellon, and the Big Ten, to ensure their research is freely available. “It’s a really rapid movement,” MacKie-Mason says. “There’s been more change in open access publishing in the last five years, I think it’s fair to say, than in the previous 25 years.” I say, let’s keep the momentum going.

Preprints Are Not Going to Replace Journals – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In the virtual 15th Conference of the European Association of Science Editors (EASE), a debate was held on the motion: Preprints are going to replace journals. I was asked to oppose the motion and this article is based on my arguments….

Regarding being disruptive, as Rob Johnson and Andrea Chiarelli showed, preprint servers are not threatening journals’ revenue. Although big publishers have been collaborating on (e.g., Springer Nature?Research Square and PLOS?Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) and acquiring (e.g., Elsevier acquiring SSRN) preprint servers, while learned societies are building preprint communities, the overall investment in preprints still remains limited.

Are preprints destructive to publishers’ business? No way! Preprint servers’ current not-for-profit business model is not sustainable. Although 37 preprint servers were established between 2016 and September 2019, one preprint leader in biological sciences, PeerJ Preprints stopped posting preprints around the time COVID-19 hit the world, after a reality check on the costs required to do so. Since then, OSF Preprints has begun charging for previously free preprint platform services, leading to the shuttering of some preprint servers. Concerns over preprints as a source of misuse and misinterpretation of scientific information were raised before and during the pandemic. Due to significant health risks, manuscripts are being identified as ‘better not disseminated as preprints’. Acceptance of preprints, especially by the academic recruitment and promotion committees, is still far away from invading the space that has long been occupied by journal articles….”

Converting Access Microbiology to an open research platform: focus group and AI review tool research results | Microbiology Society

Abstract:  The Microbiology Society will be launching an open research platform in October 2021. Developed using funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the platform will combine our current sound-science journal, Access Microbiology, with artificial intelligence (AI) review tools and many of the elements of a preprint server. In an effort to improve the rigour, reproducibility and transparency of the academic record, the Access Microbiology platform will host both preprints of articles and their Version of Record (VOR) publications, as well as the reviewer reports, Editor’s decision, authors’ response to reviewers and the AI review reports. To ensure the platform meets the needs of our community, in February 2020 we conducted focus group meetings with various stakeholders. Using articles previously submitted to Access Microbiology, we undertook testing of a range of potential AI review tools and investigated the technical feasibility and utility of including these tools as part of the platform. In keeping with the open and transparent ethos of the platform, we present here a summary of the focus group feedback and AI review tool testing.

 

Public feedback on preprints can unlock their full potential to accelerate science.

“Public preprint review can help authors improve their paper, find new collaborators, and gain visibility. It also helps readers find interesting and relevant papers and contextualize them with the reactions of experts in the field. Never has this been more apparent than in COVID-19, where rapid communication and expert commentary have both been in high demand. Yet, most feedback on preprints is currently exchanged privately.

Join ASAPbio in partnership with DORA, HHMI, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to discuss how to create a culture of constructive public review and feedback on preprints….”

Guest Post – Open and Faster Scholarly Communication in a Post-COVID World – The Scholarly Kitchen

“The pandemic presented an urgency for effective science to inform decision-making and has shown just how fast and open scholarly communication can be. Researchers shared their preliminary results on preprint servers and institutional repositories at unprecedented rates, inspiring various preprint peer-review initiatives. Journal publishers processed manuscripts from submission to publication in record time. And much of what we know about Covid-19 has been learned through data sharing and cooperation at the international level, with the use of critical data-sharing infrastructure.

While the research community has responded with an extraordinary level of openness, speed, and collaboration, it has also brought to the fore some of the key challenges we still face in the transition to open research – and the opportunities they represent….”

 

Incorporating Preprints into Academic Assessment | DORA

“Join DORA and ASAPbio on Tuesday Day, June 29, for a joint webinar on preprints and academic assessment….

Speakers will discuss important topics surrounding the incorporation of preprints into academic assessment: the value of considering preprints in academic assessment, how preprints can be included in existing assessment processes, and what challenges may arise along the way. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in the dialogue and ask questions of the speakers in the last section of the webinar.

 

This webinar is free to attend and open to everyone interested in improving research assessment. In particular, this webinar will aim to equip early career researchers, faculty, and academic leadership with the knowledge to advocate for the use of preprints at their institutions.”

Attitudes and practices of open data, preprinting, and peer-review—A cross sectional study on Croatian scientists

Baždari? K, Vrki? I, Arh E, Mavrinac M, Gligora Markovi? M, Bili?-Zulle L, et al. (2021) Attitudes and practices of open data, preprinting, and peer-review—A cross sectional study on Croatian scientists. PLoS ONE 16(6): e0244529. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244529

Abstract: Attitudes towards open peer review, open data and use of preprints influence scientists’ engagement with those practices. Yet there is a lack of validated questionnaires that measure these attitudes. The goal of our study was to construct and validate such a questionnaire and use it to assess attitudes of Croatian scientists. We first developed a 21-item questionnaire called Attitudes towards Open data sharing, preprinting, and peer-review (ATOPP), which had a reliable four-factor structure, and measured attitudes towards open data, preprint servers, open peer-review and open peer-review in small scientific communities. We then used the ATOPP to explore attitudes of Croatian scientists (n = 541) towards these topics, and to assess the association of their attitudes with their open science practices and demographic information. Overall, Croatian scientists’ attitudes towards these topics were generally neutral, with a median (Md) score of 3.3 out of max 5 on the scale score. We also found no gender (P = 0.995) or field differences (P = 0.523) in their attitudes. However, attitudes of scientist who previously engaged in open peer-review or preprinting were higher than of scientists that did not (Md 3.5 vs. 3.3, P<0.001, and Md 3.6 vs 3.3, P<0.001, respectively). Further research is needed to determine optimal ways of increasing scientists’ attitudes and their open science practices.

What We Learned Doing Fast Grants – Future

“And so, in early April, we decided to start Fast Grants, which we hoped could be one of the faster sources of emergency science funding during the pandemic. We had modest hopes given our inexperience and lack of preparation, but we felt that the opportunity to provide even small accelerations would be worthwhile given the scale of the disaster. 

The original vision was simple: an application form that would take scientists less than 30 minutes to complete and that would deliver funding decisions within 48 hours, with money following a few days later….

The first round of grants were given out within 48 hours. Later rounds of grants, which often required additional scrutiny of earlier results, were given out within two weeks. These timelines were much shorter than the alternative sources of funding available to most scientists. Grant recipients were required to do little more than publish open access preprints and provide monthly one-paragraph updates….”

Editorial: Can Journals, as Trusted Intermediaries, Cut Through the Signal-to-Noise Problem in Medical Publishing?

“Although open-access publication has its upsides, for purposes of this essay, I am going to lump publishing in open-access journals in with posting to preprint servers as potentially problematic. My reason for doing so is that both make it harder for clinicians to separate helpful research from distracting, unhelpful, and in the case of preprint servers, unvetted material. In previous editorials, I’ve highlighted some redeeming qualities of open-access publication [17, 18]; I also note that open access is a publication option here at CORR®. But from where I sit today, it’s becoming clear to me that the distortion of publication incentives that are inherent to fully open-access journals does not serve readers (or their patients) very well….”

eLife announces new approach to publishing in medicine | For the press | eLife

eLife is excited to announce a new approach to peer review and publishing in medicine, including public health and health policy.

One of the most notable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the desire to share important results and discoveries quickly, widely and openly, leading to rapid growth of the preprint server medRxiv. Despite the benefits of rapid, author-driven publication in accelerating research and democratising access to results, the growing number of clinical preprints means that individuals and institutions may act quickly on new information before it is adequately scrutinised.

To address this challenge, eLife is bringing its system of editorial oversight by practicing clinicians and clinician-investigators, and rigorous, consultative peer review to preprints. The journal’s goal is to produce ‘refereed preprints’ on medRxiv that provide readers and potential users with a detailed assessment of the research, comments on its potential impact, and perspectives on its use. By providing this rich and rapid evaluation of new results, eLife hopes peer-reviewed preprints will become a reliable indicator of quality in medical research, rather than journal impact factor.

Preprints 101 for authors

“Preprints enable researchers to rapidly share their work publicly before the formal peer review process. In this webinar you will learn more about preprints and their benefits for the research community from ASAPbio; will hear an author’s perspective on posting preprints from Sumeet Pal Singh, a group leader at IRIBHM, ULB; and will find out how to incorporate preprints in your literature search routine by using the preprint discovery tools developed by Europe PMC.”

Open Science in Kenya: Where Are We? | Research Metrics and Analytics

“According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Open Science is the movement to make scientific research and data accessible to all. It has great potential for advancing science. At its core, it includes (but is not limited to) open access, open data, and open research. Some of the associated advantages are promoting collaboration, sharing and reproducibility in research, and preventing the reinvention of the wheel, thus saving resources. As research becomes more globalized and its output grows exponentially, especially in data, the need for open scientific research practices is more evident — the future of modern science. This has resulted in a concerted global interest in open science uptake. Even so, barriers still exist. The formal training curriculum in most, if not all, universities in Kenya does not equip students with the knowledge and tools to subsequently practice open science in their research. Therefore, to work openly and collaboratively, there is a need for awareness and training in the use of open science tools. These have been neglected, especially in most developing countries, and remain barriers to the cause. Moreover, there is scanty research on the state of affairs regarding the practice and/or adoption of open science. Thus, we developed, through the OpenScienceKE framework, a model to narrow the gap. A sensitize-train-hack-collaborate model was applied in Nairobi, the economic and administrative capital of Kenya. Using the model, we sensitized through seminars, trained on the use of tools through workshops, applied the skills learned in training through hackathons to collaboratively answer the question on the state of open science in Kenya. While the former parts of the model had 20–50 participants, the latter part mainly involved participants with a bioinformatics background, leveraging their advanced computational skills. This model resulted in an open resource that researchers can use to publish as open access cost-effectively. Moreover, we observed a growing interest in open science practices in Kenya through literature search and data mining and that lack of awareness and skills may still hinder the adoption and practice of open science. Furthermore, at the time of the analyses, we surprisingly found that out of the 20,069 papers downloaded from BioRXiv, only 18 had Kenyan authors, a majority of which are international (16) collaborations. This may suggest poor uptake of the use of preprints among Kenyan researchers. The findings in this study highlight the state of open science in Kenya and challenges facing its adoption and practice while bringing forth possible areas for primary consideration in the campaign toward open science. It also proposes a model (sensitize-train-hack-collaborate model) that may be adopted by researchers, funders and other proponents of open science to address some of the challenges faced in promoting its adoption in Kenya….”