Gaudino et al. (2021) Effects of Experimental Interventions to Improve the Biomedical Peer?Review Process: A Systematic Review and Meta?Analysis | Journal of the American Heart Association

Gaudino, Mario, N. Bryce Robinson, Antonino Di Franco, Irbaz Hameed, Ajita Naik, Michelle Demetres, Leonard N. Girardi, Giacomo Frati, Stephen E. Fremes, and Giuseppe Biondi?Zoccai. ‘Effects of Experimental Interventions to Improve the Biomedical Peer?Review Process: A Systematic Review and Meta?Analysis’. Journal of the American Heart Association 0, no. 0 (n.d.): e019903.


Quality of the peer?review process has been tested only in small studies. We describe and summarize the randomized trials that investigated interventions aimed at improving peer?review process of biomedical manuscripts.

Methods and Results

All randomized trials comparing different peer?review interventions at author?, reviewer?, and/or editor?level were included. Differences between traditional and intervention?modified peer?review processes were pooled as standardized mean difference (SMD) in quality based on the definitions used in the individual studies. Main outcomes assessed were quality and duration of the peer?review process. Five?hundred and seventy?five studies were retrieved, eventually yielding 24 randomized trials. Eight studies evaluated the effect of interventions at author?level, 16 at reviewer?level, and 3 at editor?level. Three studies investigated interventions at multiple levels. The effects of the interventions were reported as mean change in review quality, duration of the peer?review process, acceptance/rejection rate, manuscript quality, and number of errors detected in 13, 11, 5, 4, and 3 studies, respectively. At network meta?analysis, reviewer?level interventions were associated with a significant improvement in review quality (SMD, 0.20 [0.06 to 0.33]), at the cost of increased duration of the review process (SMD, 0.15 [0.01 to 0.29]), except for reviewer blinding. Author? and editor?level interventions did not significantly impact peer?review quality and duration (respectively, SMD, 0.17 [?0.16 to 0.51] and SMD, 0.19 [?0.40 to 0.79] for quality, and SMD, 0.17 [?0.16 to 0.51] and SMD, 0.19 [?0.40 to 0.79] for duration).


Modifications of the traditional peer?review process at reviewer?level are associated with improved quality, at the price of longer duration. Further studies are needed.

Data sharing practices and data availability upon request differ across scientific disciplines | Scientific Data

Abstract:  Data sharing is one of the cornerstones of modern science that enables large-scale analyses and reproducibility. We evaluated data availability in research articles across nine disciplines in Nature and Science magazines and recorded corresponding authors’ concerns, requests and reasons for declining data sharing. Although data sharing has improved in the last decade and particularly in recent years, data availability and willingness to share data still differ greatly among disciplines. We observed that statements of data availability upon (reasonable) request are inefficient and should not be allowed by journals. To improve data sharing at the time of manuscript acceptance, researchers should be better motivated to release their data with real benefits such as recognition, or bonus points in grant and job applications. We recommend that data management costs should be covered by funding agencies; publicly available research data ought to be included in the evaluation of applications; and surveillance of data sharing should be enforced by both academic publishers and funders. These cross-discipline survey data are available from the plutoF repository.


Towards wide-scale adoption of open science practices: The role of open science communities | Science and Public Policy | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  Despite the increasing availability of Open Science (OS) infrastructure and the rise in policies to change behaviour, OS practices are not yet the norm. While pioneering researchers are developing OS practices, the majority sticks to status quo. To transition to common practice, we must engage a critical proportion of the academic community. In this transition, OS Communities (OSCs) play a key role. OSCs are bottom-up learning groups of scholars that discuss OS within and across disciplines. They make OS knowledge more accessible and facilitate communication among scholars and policymakers. Over the past two years, eleven OSCs were founded at several Dutch university cities. In other countries, similar OSCs are starting up. In this article, we discuss the pivotal role OSCs play in the large-scale transition to OS. We emphasize that, despite the grassroot character of OSCs, support from universities is critical for OSCs to be viable, effective, and sustainable.


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.

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.

A Coalition for Social Learning Across Content | Hypothesis

Today we’re announcing a coalition, Social Learning Across Content, of educational content creators, technology platforms, service providers, and stakeholder groups that are coming together in support of cross-platform social learning. Moving forward, this coalition will work together to establish user-friendly, interoperable best practices and solutions to bring social learning to all content.

Webinar: Researcher Focus 1: Researcher Needs, Common Values and Practices, June 29, 2021 at 3pm (BST) | OASPA

OASPA is pleased to announce the first in a series of webinars focused on the needs of the researcher. This webinar brings together a cross-disciplinary panel of researchers to discuss what unites them in terms of their motivations and values around open research and open access, and how and if this is enabled in practice. Panellists will also consider if their perceptions change depending on their role (author, reviewer, evaluator, educator, reader) and discuss the choices they currently make when disseminating their work and if and how they would like these to change in the future.

The webinar will be chaired by Curtis Brundy and we welcome our panellists Michelle Arkin, Melodee Beals, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou and Zulidyana D. Rusnalasari.

The panellists will each speak for approximately 10 minutes each, and then we will open it up to questions from the audience and for panel discussion.

Please join us live for this free webinar and to contribute to the discussion by registering here.

Exploring Open Access Practices, Attitudes, and Policies in Academic Libraries

Preprint at:

Abstract:  This article reports the results of a 2019 survey of academic librarians that investigated their attitudes, practices, and policies regarding open access (OA). This study asks if academic librarians write policies to ensure that they approach OA intentionally and systematically across all library services. The results indicate that, though librarians report favorable beliefs about OA and integrating OA into technical and public services, they seldom create OA policies.


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….”


Evaluating implementation of the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines: the TRUST process for rating journal policies, procedures, and practices | Research Integrity and Peer Review | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

The Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines describe modular standards that journals can adopt to promote open science. The TOP Factor is a metric to describe the extent to which journals have adopted the TOP Guidelines in their policies. Systematic methods and rating instruments are needed to calculate the TOP Factor. Moreover, implementation of these open science policies depends on journal procedures and practices, for which TOP provides no standards or rating instruments.


We describe a process for assessing journal policies, procedures, and practices according to the TOP Guidelines. We developed this process as part of the Transparency of Research Underpinning Social Intervention Tiers (TRUST) Initiative to advance open science in the social intervention research ecosystem. We also provide new instruments for rating journal instructions to authors (policies), manuscript submission systems (procedures), and published articles (practices) according to standards in the TOP Guidelines. In addition, we describe how to determine the TOP Factor score for a journal, calculate reliability of journal ratings, and assess coherence among a journal’s policies, procedures, and practices. As a demonstration of this process, we describe a protocol for studying approximately 345 influential journals that have published research used to inform evidence-based policy.


The TRUST Process includes systematic methods and rating instruments for assessing and facilitating implementation of the TOP Guidelines by journals across disciplines. Our study of journals publishing influential social intervention research will provide a comprehensive account of whether these journals have policies, procedures, and practices that are consistent with standards for open science and thereby facilitate the publication of trustworthy findings to inform evidence-based policy. Through this demonstration, we expect to identify ways to refine the TOP Guidelines and the TOP Factor. Refinements could include: improving templates for adoption in journal instructions to authors, manuscript submission systems, and published articles; revising explanatory guidance intended to enhance the use, understanding, and dissemination of the TOP Guidelines; and clarifying the distinctions among different levels of implementation.

Opening up Educational Practices through Faculty, Librarian, and Student Collaboration in OER Creation: Moving from Labor-intensive to Supervisory Involvement | Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

Abstract:  This article presents a case study for transitioning library-led open-educational resources (OER) initiatives away from labor-intensive activities to a model where library personnel focus on project management responsibilities. This shift from labour-intensive activities, such as workshops and training sessions, led to more collaborative partnerships with faculty and students to produce OER projects. In particular, we focus on labour implications for the various stakeholders involved and the sustainability of these initiatives. We describe several initiatives undertaken by the Ohio University Libraries to encourage open educational resource adoptions and projects, including a grant-funded initiative to provide support services for faculty creating OER. That funding, which was awarded to enhance undergraduate education, has been used to support the development of five OER projects that have directly involved students in the creation of those materials. We provide an overview of the various ways in which students have become involved in OER creation in partnership with faculty and librarians and discuss the impact these partnerships have had on student-faculty-librarian relationships and student engagement. Among these projects are an Hispanic linguistics open textbook created using only student-authored texts, student-generated test banks to accompany existing OER materials for a large-enrollment art history course, and several other projects in which hired student assistants are helping faculty to develop content for open textbooks. This article helps to address a gap in the literature by providing transparency regarding the personnel, costs, and workflow for Ohio University Libraries’ OER initiatives and addressing potential areas of concern surrounding student labour. 


International disparities in open access practices in the Earth Sciences

Abstract:  Background: Open access (OA) implies free and unrestricted access to and re-use of research articles. Recently, OA publishing has seen a new wave of interest, debate, and practices surrounding that mode of publishing.

Objectives: To provide an overview of publication practices and to compare them among six countries across the world to stimulate further debate and to raise awareness about OA to facilitate decision-making on further development of OA practices in earth sciences.

Methods: The number of OA articles, their distribution among the six countries, and top ten journals publishing OA articles were identified using two databases, namely Scopus and the Web of Science, based mainly on the data for 2018.

Results: In 2018, only 24%–31% of the total number of articles indexed by either of the databases were OA articles. Six of the top ten earth sciences journals that publish OA articles were fully OA journals and four were hybrid journals. Fully OA journals were mostly published by emerging publishers and their article processing charges ranged from $1000 to $2200.

Conclusions: The rise in OA publishing has potential implications for researchers and tends to shift article-processing charges from organizations to individuals. Until the earth sciences community decides to move away from journal-based criteria to evaluate researchers, it is likely that such high costs will continue to maintain financial inequities within this research community, especially to the disadvantage of researchers from the least developed countries. However, earth scientists, by opting for legal self- archiving of their publications, could help to promote equitable and sustainable access to, and wider dissemination of, their work.

Data in Motion: New Approaches to Advancing Scientific, Engineering and Medical Progress: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief | The National Academies Press

Abstract:  The movement toward open science, data sharing, and increased transparency is being propelled by the need to rapidly address critical scientific challenges, such as the global COVID-19 public health crisis. This movement has supported growth in fields, such as artificial intelligence (AI), which has demonstrated potential to accelerate science, engineering, and medicine in new and exciting ways. To further advance innovation around these new approaches, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Research Data and Information convened a public virtual workshop on October 14-15, 2020, to address how researchers in different domains are utilizing data that undergo repeated processing, often in real-time, to accelerate scientific discovery. Although these topics were not originally part of the workshop, the impact of COVID-19 prompted the planning committee to add sessions on early career researchers’ perspectives, as well as rapid review and publishing activities as a result of the pandemic. Participants also explored the advances needed to enable future progress in areas such as AI, cyberinfrastructure, standards, and policies. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussion of the workshop.


“Exploring Open Access Practices, Attitudes, and Policies in Academic L” by Rachel E. Scott, Caitlin Harrington et al.

Abstract: This article reports the results of a 2019 survey of academic librarians that investigated their attitudes, practices, and policies regarding open access (OA). This study asks if academic librarians write policies to ensure that they approach OA intentionally and systematically across all library services. The results indicate that, though librarians report favorable beliefs about OA and integrating OA into technical and public services, they seldom create OA policies.

To boldly grow: five new journals shaped by Open Science – The Official PLOS Blog

“We are extremely excited to announce the imminent launch of five new journals, our first new launches in fourteen years. These new journals are unified in addressing global health and environmental challenges and are rooted in the full values of Open Science:

PLOS Climate
PLOS Sustainability and Transformation
PLOS Water
PLOS Digital Health
PLOS Global Public Health…”