The impact of COVID-19 on open access publishing in radiology and nuclear medicine: an in-depth analysis • JML Journal of Medicine and Life

Abstract:  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous initiatives have been implemented to ensure open access availability of COVID-19-related articles to make published articles accessible for anyone. This study aimed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on open-access publishing in radiology and nuclear medicine. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of articles and reviews published in these fields during the COVID-19 publishing era using the Web of Science database. We analyzed several indicators between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related articles, including the number and percentage of open-access articles, the top ten cited articles, and the number of reviews. In total, 67,100 articles were published in radiology and nuclear medicine between January 2020 and June 2022. Among those, more than half (51.1%) were open-access articles. Among these publications, 2,336 were COVID-19-related, and 64,764 were non-COVID-19-related. However, articles related to COVID-19 had an open access rate of 91.5%, compared to only 49.6% of the non-COVID-19-related articles. Moreover, COVID-19-related articles had a higher percentage of highly cited and hot papers compared to articles not related to COVID-19. Moreover, most highly cited studies were related to chest computerized tomography (CT) scan findings in COVID-19 patients. The findings emphasize the significant proportion of open access COVID-19-related publications in radiology and nuclear medicine, facilitating widespread and timely access to everyone.


Umbrella Data Management Plans to Integrate FAIR Data: Lessons From the ISIDORe and BY-COVID Consortia for Pandemic Preparedness – Data Science Journal

Abstract:  The Horizon Europe project ISIDORe is dedicated to pandemic preparedness and responsiveness research. It brings together 17 research infrastructures (RIs) and networks to provide a broad range of services to infectious disease researchers. An efficient and structured treatment of data is central to ISIDORe’s aim to furnish seamless access to its multidisciplinary catalogue of services, and to ensure that users’ results are treated FAIRly. ISIDORe therefore requires a data management plan (DMP) covering both access management and research outputs, applicable over a broad range of disciplines, and compatible with the constraints and existing practices of its diverse partners. Here, we describe how, to achieve that aim, we undertook an iterative, step-by-step, process to build a community-approved living document, identifying good practices and processes, on the basis of use cases, presented as proof of concepts. International fora such as the RDA and EOSC, and primarily the BY-COVID project, furnished registries, tools and online data platforms, as well as standards, and the support of data scientists. Together, these elements provide a path for building an umbrella, FAIR-compliant DMP, aligned as fully as possible with FAIR principles, which could also be applied as a framework for data management harmonisation in other large-scale, challenge-driven projects. Finally, we discuss how data management and reuse can be further improved through the use of knowledge models when writing DMPs and, how, in the future, an inter-RI network of data stewards could contribute to the establishment of a community of practice, to be integrated subsequently into planned trans-RI competence centres.

Transforming scholarly communications: The part played by the pandemic and the contribution of early career researchers – Nicholas – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Investigates whether junior researchers believe that the scholarly communication system is changing in a significant way, whether they have contributed to the changes they envisaged, whether the pandemic has fast-forwarded change and what they thought a transformed system might look like. The data are drawn from the Harbingers-2 project, which investigated the impact of the pandemic on the scholarly communications attitudes and behaviours of early career researchers (ECRs), employing repeat interviewing with around 170 science and social science junior researchers from eight countries. The article focuses on the findings of the last of three rounds of interviews, with comparisons made with the first round, held 18?months earlier, when the pandemic was most active. A majority of ECRs thought that there had been significant changes in the scholarly system, and a large minority thought that the pandemic was responsible. Most of them wanted a system that was more open in terms of open access and open data, with a third taking personal action to bring about change.


Pandemic scientific data sharing recommendations: examining and re-imagining pre-print servers after the end of the world-wide emergency | Antimicrobial Stewardship & Healthcare Epidemiology | Cambridge Core

Abstract:  Early in the pandemic, pre-print servers sped rapid evidence sharing. A collaborative of major medical journals supported their use to ensure equitable access to scientific advancements. In the intervening three years, we have made major advancements in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and learned about the benefits and limitations of pre-prints as a mechanism for sharing and disseminating scientific knowledge.

Pre-prints increase attention, citations, and ultimately impact policy, often before findings are verified. Evidence suggests that pre-prints have more spin relative to peer-reviewed publications. Clinical trial findings posted on pre-print servers do not change substantially following peer-review, but other study types (e.g., modeling and observational studies) often undergo substantial revision or are never published.

Nuanced policies about sharing results are needed to balance rapid implementation of true and important advancements with accuracy. Policies recommending immediate posting of COVID-19-related research should be re-evaluated, and standards for evaluation and sharing of unverified studies should be developed. These may include specifications about what information is included in pre-prints and requirements for certain data quality standards (e.g., automated review of images and tables); requirements for code release and sharing; and limiting early postings to methods, results, and limitations sections.

Academic publishing needs to innovate and improve, but assessments of evidence quality remains a critical part of the scientific discovery and dissemination process.

Research4Life & STM support Ukrainian science and research during conflict – STM

“The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine recently expressed its gratitude to STM’s publisher partners for allowing free access to over 42,000 peer-reviewed journals, 174,000 e-books, and 155 databases through the Research4Life program. In 2022, R4L publishers granted Ukrainian institutions free access under the Group A category of Research4Life. In a letter, the Temporary Acting Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Yevhen Kudriavets, described how Research4Life’s support became a lifeline for Ukrainian scientists by symbolizing resilience and allowing vital research to continue amid the uncertainty of war….”

Update on Access to Coronavirus-related Articles in PubMed Central (PMC) COVID-19 Collection After End of Public Health Emergency

“Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) collaborated with publishers and scholarly societies to expand access to coronavirus-related journal articles in PubMed Central (PMC), a digital archive of peer-reviewed biomedical and life sciences literature. Through this collaboration, more than 50 publishers made more than 350,000 coronavirus-related articles accessible under various article-level license terms through the PMC COVID-19 Collection (previously the PMC COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Initiative). This collaboration made a significant collection of coronavirus-related information immediately accessible to researchers to accelerate discoveries about COVID-19.

As COVID-19 emergency declarations expired in the United States and around the globe, so too did article-level license terms for use of some of these articles. Most of the articles deposited in the PMC COVID-19 Collection will remain available in PMC and available for bulk distribution and reuse, and all citations will remain searchable in PubMed; however, some publishers retained the right to remove their content and have requested to do so.

To assist PMC users in understanding these changes, NLM is making available, in downloadable format, lists of PMCIDs (PMC unique reference numbers) for any impacted articles.

NLM remains committed to providing perpetual public access to all articles deposited in the PMC COVID-19 Collection for which the copyright holder provides such permission. More information is available from the PMC COVID-19 Collection and PMC COVID-19 Collection FAQ webpages.”

How covid-19 bolstered an already perverse publishing system | The BMJ

“This was the first global pandemic that the scientific publishing industry had ever faced—while journals existed, no organised industry did when the 1918 flu pandemic occurred—and the first in a new digital age of internet communication and publishing. An estimated 1.5 million articles were added to the global literature in 2020—the largest single year increase in history, says Vincent Larivière, who studies bibliometrics at the University of Montreal, Canada. This peaked in April 2020, when many countries were deep into lockdown or applying heavy restrictions.

Some saw it as an opportunity. There were promises of more open science and publishing: a number of journals and research institutions agreed to a data sharing pledge issued by the funder the Wellcome Trust on 31 January 2020 that intended to “ensure that research findings and data relevant to this outbreak are shared rapidly and openly to inform the public health response and help save lives.”2 But it also stoked an already, some say, twisted industry—one that thrives on competitiveness—to publish the first data or to have the greatest visibility and impact. This changed the ways that papers were produced and vetted, for good and bad….

Medical journals halved their turnaround times in the first half of 2020.5 Despite the unknown nature of the virus and its science, editors took far less rather than more time over decisions, a February 2023 analysis of 339?000 papers has found.6

Naomi Lee, senior executive editor for research at the Lancet during the pandemic, recalls how the usually rare practice of “fast tracking” select papers was expanded so that “practically everyone and everything was accelerated with the goal of disseminating critical knowledge.” The PubMed database shows that the five most cited articles in the Lancet since 2020—most reporting early coronavirus data—were accepted within 14 days and published within 22 days of receipt.

Alarms were raised early on about the mix of sheer volume and unprecedented speed….

Proponents of open science had breathlessly heralded a revolution.10 medRxiv, a BMJ affiliated preprint server, saw a 10-fold rise in submissions within two months of the first reported covid case. But this enthusiasm receded, and submissions at medRxiv and others stabilised by mid-2020.

Analysis shows that just 5% of all peer reviewed journal articles about covid-19 published in 2020 started out as preprints.11 And, while some pivotal trials such as Recovery and Solidarity were first reported as open access preprints, none of the phase 3 covid vaccine trials supported by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, or Pfizer was, and only the Oxford-AstraZeneca phase 3 trial report was published with a gold open access licence. A 2022 evaluation by Wellcome of the data sharing commitment it initiated found that fewer than half of signatories’ covid papers contained information about where and how to access available data,12 raising concern about a lack of transparency, particularly in clinical trials.

Progress towards more open research has also disappointed. While the leading publishers agreed to make their covid content open and reusable,2 Wellcome’s assessment found that just 46% of signatories’ covid papers were genuinely open access, where re-use is permitted and authors retain copyright.12

Instead, most journals retained commercial rights and simply took down a paywall (“bronze” open access15), says Larivière. He adds that, while major publishers including Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley continue to make covid content freely available, only about half of papers on the climate crisis are similarly available….”

Should AJE allow submissions of manuscripts that have been previously posted on preprint servers and received media attention? | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  In weighing the question of whether AJE should accept preprints that have received press coverage, we need to keep in mind three sets of interests: the public interest, the publisher’s interest, and the author’s interest. During public health emergencies, such as a pandemic, the author’s interests (rapid communication of scientific findings to the public) are aligned with the public interest (learning about life-saving information as early as possible). However, the interests of different parties are not always aligned. In most cases, preprinted articles do not concern matters of life or death. Widespread dissemination of studies via preprint services conflicts with the journal editor’s interest in delivering fresh, original content. Dissemination of study results prior to peer review can occasionally backfire and cause unintended harm if the findings turn out to be false.


Open Buildings

“Building footprints are useful for a range of important applications, from population estimation, urban planning and humanitarian response, to environmental and climate science. This large-scale open dataset contains the outlines of buildings derived from high-resolution satellite imagery in order to support these types of uses. The project is based in Ghana, with an initial focus on the continent of Africa and new updates on South Asia and South-East Asia….”

Volunteers Rally to Archive Ukrainian Web Sites – Internet Archive Blogs

“As the war intensifies in Ukraine, volunteers from around the world are working to archive digital content at risk of destruction or manipulation. The Internet Archive is supporting several preservation efforts including the Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO) initiative launched in early March….

More than 1,200 volunteers with SUCHO have saved 10 terabytes of data including 14,000 uploaded items (images and PDFs) and captured parts of 2,300 websites so far. This includes material from Ukrainian museums, library websites, digital exhibits, open access publications and elsewhere. 


The initiative is using a combination of technologies to crawl and archive sites and content. Some of the information is stored at the Internet Archive, where it can be discovered and accessed using open-source software….

The Internet Archive is providing technical support, tools and training to assist volunteers, including those with SUCHO, who are giving of their time.

Through Archive-It, a customizable self-service web archiving platform that captures, stores, and provides access to web-based content, free online accounts have been offered to volunteer archivists. Mirage Berry, business development manager for Archive-It, has coordinated support with other preservation partners including the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, and East European & Central Asian Studies Collections librarian Liladhar Pendse at University of California, Berkeley….”

Data Sharing Across Sectors Creates Better Early Warning Systems –

“The existing public sector’s early warning systems for infectious disease and climate events are commonly disconnected; there are limited mechanisms in place that relate the two. In other words, there is a lack of data that helps understand and predict the impacts of extreme weather events and environmental changes on disease risk.

Attempting to find and connect climate and health data proves next to impossible with the current infrastructure in developing countries. For instance, when faced with an outbreak of dengue fever in Peru, the health minister has data on only health and demographics. If you wanted to combine that with climate data you would need to ask the minister of the environment. Want to relate economic data? Ask the minister of the economy and finance….


The Harmonize Project seeks to build a digital infrastructure of harmonized databases to feed early warning systems for epidemics exacerbated by climate change in the LAC region.


In collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC)—and a network in Brazil, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic—and supported by Wellcome, the project will bring together ministries, universities, private companies, social impact organizations, and more to create a complex data infrastructure and collect real longitudinal data on the ground. These new data sets will provide valuable information on seasonal variation in land use and human behavior has given climate hazards, which are generally assumed to be unchanging in health impact models.

The outcome of such an infrastructure? Actionable knowledge to inform local risk mapping and create strong early warning systems to drive resilience in low-resource communities….”

Publishers Want to End How Libraries Lend Books Online – EveryLibrary Action

“A court decision could limit how you access e-books from the library.

When the pandemic began and schools and libraries around the country were forced to close their doors, teachers and librarians were at a loss over how to get digital books into the hands of young readers and their families.

The problem was so drastic that the Internet Archive (IA), a nonprofit digital library, declared a National Emergency Library (NEL) lending program. With more than a million digital books in its Open Library collection, the IA temporarily suspended its usual limit on lending digital copies one at a time during this unprecedented period.

While the move was heralded by many readers, schools, and libraries, others weren’t so happy. Several well-known authors blasted the program as “piracy.” Then, two months after it began, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and John Wiley & Sons sued the IA, alleging “willful mass copyright infringement.”

Now over two-and-a-half years later, arguments have been fully briefed in the district court, but what began as a dispute over the NEL has grown into a much more complex fight over copyright law, the lending of digital books, and the future of libraries….”

HathiTrust Receives $1 Million Mellon Grant to Enhance Core Oper… | HathiTrust Digital Library

“HathiTrust, a member-based organization hosted by the University of Michigan, has received a 5-year, $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to fund a multi-year effort to strengthen its preservation and access mission. 

The funding will initially finance three new positions to develop an integrated program of assessment, analytics, and portfolio management for the HathiTrust organization.  “With these new capabilities in place, we can better match our resources to high impact work,” says Mike Furlough, Executive Director. “We will be able to grow our team and modernize our tools and processes, and create a more nimble and disciplined organization to meet our community’s strategic needs.”

In March 2020, HathiTrust developed the Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS), permitting access to digitized materials for hundreds of academic and research libraries and their communities during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. “Emergency services increased demand for access, and confirmed the importance of large scale digitization and long-term digital preservation. From that experience, we learned that over the next several years we need to diversify the ways that libraries and users engage with HathiTrust. I’m grateful for the Mellon Foundation’s support, which will allow us to better respond to those needs,”  Furlough says….”


Researcher and Academic Library Roles and User Beliefs in the Pandemic: Designing the Open-Access and Library Usage Scale (OALU) | DeZouche | Journal of Intellectual Freedom & Privacy

Abstract:  We investigated whether individuals believe they have a right to information during a crisis, and whether attitudes about crisis-related information sharing differ by age and one’s role in providing or consuming information. We measured attitudes about aspects of data sharing related to COVID-19: researchers’ obligation to share data, publishers’ obligation to share information, and libraries’ responsibility to provide them. We predicted younger individuals, especially students as consumers of information, would report stronger preference for open access to pandemic-related information. A principal components analysis was performed, and two predicted factors emerged: information-sharing obligations and libraries’ responsibility to provide resources. Age was not significantly correlated with attitudes about libraries or information-sharing. Planned analyses comparing students, faculty, and community members unaffiliated with the university revealed no differences in their attitudes regarding library resources or information-sharing. A lack of age and university affiliation-related differences can be explained by universally strong attitudes in favor of both information-sharing and library resources, with a greater desire for information-sharing. Knowing that individuals demonstrate a strong preference for open access to information and that these attitudes do not differ between those who are providing (faculty), and consuming information (students/community) can contribute to funding for these resources. This research is innovative and timely, as attitudes about access when information is urgently and globally needed, as during a pandemic, is likely to differ from those observed under different circumstances.