“The bottom line remains the same as two years ago: covering our basic publication costs would require raising APCs to just short of 9,000 euros per research article. Thus, a financially sustainable transition to a Gold OA model at all four EMBO Press journals would represent a challenge for many authors not supported by dedicated publication funds, effectively excluding them based on financial, and not scientific, criteria.
The scientific community and its funders must decide if – or literally how much – they value high-quality selective journals, open-access, open science, and journalistic content. Through transparency, EMBO and EMBO Press want to contribute to grounding this debate in the financial realities of scientific publishing.”
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded EMBO a grant to support the operation and development of Review Commons, the journal-independent peer review platform launched in 2019 by EMBO and ASAPbio. The grant secures the ongoing ability of Review Commons to operate at no cost to authors while allowing the project team to further promote the use of refereed preprints and expand the reach of the platform.
“Review Commons is a platform for high-quality journal-independent peer-review in the life sciences.
Review Commons provides authors with a Refereed Preprint, which includes the authors’ manuscript, reports from a single round of peer review and the authors’ response. Review Commons also facilitates author-directed submission of Refereed Preprints to affiliate journals to expedite editorial consideration, reduce serial re-review and streamline publication.
Review Commons transfers Refereed Preprints on behalf of the authors to bioRxiv and 17 affiliate journals from EMBO Press, eLife, ASCB, The Company of Biologists, Rockefeller University Press and PLOS.
Review Commons will:
Allow reviewers to focus on the science, not specific journal fit.
Enrich the value of preprints.
Reduce re-reviewing at multiple journals.
Accelerate the publishing process by providing journals with high-quality referee reports….”
“Last December, a new platform was launched to provide scientists independent peer review of their work before submitting to a journal. Review Commons aims to give authors quick, clear, and objective insight that focuses on the rigor of the research rather than its fit for a particular publication.
Spearheaded by ASAPbio, EMBO, and 17 affiliate journals in the life sciences, with funding from The Helmsley Charitable Trust, the initiative’s open approach is intended to expedite the publication process. It does this by allowing reviews to be reused by multiple journals, while providing publicly-visible feedback on research shared as preprints. Once authors receive comments, they have a chance to respond before submitting for consideration at one of the participating journals from EMBO Press, eLife, ASCB, The Company of Biologists, Rockefeller University Press and PLoS. …”
“The large majority of biomedical data is locked away in published scientific illustrations that cannot be indexed by search tools, making them difficult to find or re-analyze and resulting in a substantial waste of knowledge and resources, with negative impact on the science communities’ research output and its reproducibility.
SourceData, an initiative by EMBO, is an openly accessible and easily applicable data discovery tool allowing biomedical scientists to share figures and the underlying source data in a way that is machine-readable. SourceData provides a novel platform for researchers who wish to make their publications discoverable based on their data content, to find specific data, to test or generate new hypotheses, and to share and connect data….”
“Early Evidence Base (EEB) is an experimental platform that combines artificial intelligence with human curation and expert peer-review to highlight results posted in preprints. EEB is a technology experiment developed by EMBO Press and SourceData.
Preprints provide the scientific community with early access to scientific evidence. For experts, this communication channel is an efficient way to accesss research without delay and thus to accelerate scientific progress. But for non-experts, navigating preprints can be challenging: in absence of peer-review and journal certification, interpreting the data and evaluating the strength of the conclusions is often impossible; finding specific and relevant information in the rapidly accumulating corpus of preprints is becoming increasingly difficult.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has made this tradeoff even more visible. The urgency in understanding and combatting SARS-CoV-2 viral infection has stimulated an unprecedented rate of preprint posting. It has however also revealed the risk resulting from misinterpretation of preliminary results shared in preprint and with amplification or perpetuating prelimature claims by non-experts or the media.
To experiment with ways in which technology and human expertise can be combined to address these issues, EMBO has built the EEB. The platform prioritizes preprints in complementary ways:
Refereed Preprints are preprints that are associated with reviews. EEB prioritizes such preprints and integrates the content of the reviews as well as the authors’ response, when available, to provide rich context and in-depth analyses of the reported research.
To highlight the importance of experimental evidence, EEB automatically highlights and organizes preprints around scientific topics and emergent areas of research.
Finally, EEB provides an automated selection of preprints that are enriched in studies that were peer reviewed, may bridge several areas of research and use a diversity of experimental approaches….”
“ASAPbio and EMBO Press just launched Review Commons, a platform for high-quality, journal-independent peer review of manuscripts in the life sciences before they are submitted to a journal.
PLOS is part of a group of affiliate journals that have agreed to consider submissions with transferred reviews from Review Commons without restarting the review process. All of our journals within scope — PLOS Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS ONE and PLOS Pathogens — now welcome submissions reviewed at Review Commons.
Authors can submit preprints or unpublished manuscripts to Review Commons for expert peer review coordinated by professional editors at EMBO Press. Authors can then decide the best home for this Refereed Preprint which contains the manuscript, the reviewers’ reports plus any author responses. …”
“The European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) is taking the unusual step of making the finances of four of its journals public in order to highlight the challenges of transforming subscription or part-subscription journals into fully open access titles.
EMBO wants to give funders, researchers and regulators a better understanding of how expensive it is to publish research, said the institute’s director, Maria Leptin. “People underestimate the costs of publishing,” Leptin told Science|Business. “We thought it was necessary to be transparent about how much we are spending.”
Few publishers and journals disclose their costs and charges, making it near impossible to assess the true cost of publishing a paper, according to EMBO’s report, published today.
Leptin says the EMBO data will inform the Coalition S grouping of leading science funding bodies, which are involved in a major push to make the research they fund open access on publication, under the so-called Plan S, from 2021….”
“Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) today announced a new pilot project—Transparent Review in Preprints (TRiP)—that enables journals and peer review services to post peer reviews of submitted manuscripts on CSHL’s preprint server bioRxiv.
“The new project is part of broader efforts by bioRxiv to work with other organizations to help the scholarly publishing ecosystem evolve,” said John Inglis, co-founder of bioRxiv at CSHL.
The project is powered by the web annotation tool Hypothesis and will allow participating organizations to post peer reviews in dedicated Hypothesis groups alongside relevant preprints on the bioRxiv website. Authors must opt-in with the journal/service in advance. The use of restricted Hypothesis groups allows participating organizations to control the process and ensure that only reviews they approve are displayed. Readers will continue to be able to post their own reactions to individual preprints through bioRxiv’s dedicated comment section.
eLife and the EMBO Press journals, together with Peerage of Science and Review Commons, two journal-independent peer review initiatives, will be the first to participate. Several other groups plan to join the pilot later, including the American Society for Plant Biology and the Public Library of Science….”
“EMBO Press and ASAPbio have partnered to create Review Commons, a platform that peer-reviews research manuscripts in the life sciences before submission to a journal.
Papers submitted to Review Commons, which will be launched in December 2019, will be assessed by expert referees without regard to any journal to which they might ultimately be submitted, and will be judged exclusively for their scientific rigor and merit. Review Commons will enable authors to publicly post the reviews and their own response to them on the preprint server bioRxiv and to submit their reviewed manuscript to an affiliated journal.
In the scholarly publishing process, reviewers typically evaluate manuscripts after submission to a journal. Beyond the requirement for technical rigor, editors and reviewers tend to be most concerned about whether the work meets the subjective criteria for the journal. If the work is rejected, the peer reviews are typically not reused by another journal. In this way, journal rejections across all fields waste an estimated 15 million hours of reviewer time each year and contribute to long publication delays for authors and readers.,
Review Commons aims to accelerate and streamline the process of publishing by conducting high-quality, in-depth peer review of manuscripts before journal submission. Peer reviewers will be asked to evaluate the technical rigour of the work, make suggestions for improvements, and comment on the potential value of the work to specific communities. Authors can direct Review Commons to post reviews and their own responses to bioRxiv through the server’s new Transparent Review in Preprints (TRiP) project, where it will provide rich context for readers of their preprint. If authors decide to submit their work to a journal, it will allow editors to make efficient editorial decisions based on existing referee comments….”
“I’m happy to announce PLOS’ participation in a new service, Review Commons, that will provide a platform for rapid, objective, journal-independent peer reviews for manuscripts and preprints. We are excited to be part of this initiative and to learn from our community’s response how we can rethink peer review to save authors’, reviewers’, and editors’ time and enhance transparency and objectiveness….
Created by ASAPbio and EMBO Press, Review Commons will organize a single round of journal-agnostic review for manuscripts in the life sciences submitted to the service. Upon receiving the reviews, the authors can decide to simply post them alongside their preprint on bioRxiv and/or to submit their manuscript — including reviews–to one of the 17 journals affiliated with Review Commons. If the chosen journal decides to proceed with the submission, it commits to not involve new reviewers unless a specific aspect of the article needs to be further evaluated.
All the PLOS journals within scope — PLOS Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS ONE and PLOS Pathogens — will welcome submissions reviewed at Review Commons. …”
“Responding to the document’s publication, EMBO Director Maria Leptin says: “We welcome the plan, which echoes some of the recommendations EMBO has made within the Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform, and through individual discussions with Robert-Jan Smits and other European Commission representatives.
“We are pleased that ‘Plan S’ acknowledges the importance of quality in the publication process. In working towards a complete and immediate Open Access goal, we must make sure that we do not sacrifice this quality as a result of equating ‘open’ to ‘for free’.
“The coalition aims to standardize and cap publication fees across Europe. It is important that a cap on Article Processing Charges (APC) is not below the cost for assessment and processing per accepted article at quality journals. Otherwise there is a risk that openness and quality will need to be traded off against one another.” …
Leptin says: “We welcome the coalition’s desire to using the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) as a starting point to move away from the journal impact factor as a measure of research output.
“It is important that changes in scientific publishing are accompanied by changes in the institutional and funding systems such that researchers are not judged by the impact factor of the journals in which their work is published.” …”