Product Manager – Octopus

“This is an exciting opportunity to develop a new, innovative open research product called Octopus. Octopus will allow researchers to publish their work for free at any stage in the research process. We are looking recruit a product manager who is driven by the principles of open research and has the skills required to deliver this product to researchers and to grow a user base….”

This week is ‘Peer Review Week’ – a time to ‘celebrate’ that aspect of scientific publishing that academia loves to hate. – Research

“Imagine if every statistical analysis was accompanied by comments from a professional statistician; if every method described had been critiqued by a methodological expert; if interpretations could be published of the same analysis from a wide variety of people with different training, backgrounds or experience. How much richer would the research record be? How much more useful than each of us only passing our own personal judgement on each article, bounded by our own inevitably narrow experience, and unshared with others?

This was all part of my thinking when coming up with Octopus, the platform that is designed to be the new, digital-first primary research record for scientific work….”

“Positively Disrupt(ing) Research Culture for the Better”: An Interview with Alexandra Freeman of Octopus – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In early August, it was announced that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) would provide significant funding for a new open publishing platform. Called Octopus, this initiative is not yet fully launched, but when it is it plans to “provide a new ‘primary research record’ for recording and appraising research “as it happens’”; UKRI calls Octopus “a ground-breaking global service which could positively disrupt research culture for the better.” I reached out to Octopus’s founder, Dr. Alexandra Freeman, to ask some questions about Octopus and its plans for the future….”

David Worlock | Developing digital strategies for the information marketplace | Supporting the migration of information providers and content players into the networked services world of the future.

“If STM publishers were successful in going [to fee-based gold] Open Access , and supporting a creator-pays business model , how will they cope with the next migration , if that is towards Open Platform , and funder pays in a context that does not really seem to require publishers in quite the same way at all…

But the really interesting part of the [Octopus] proposal is the break-up of the article itself . Dr Freeman sees it as dividing into eight different segments , each of them appearing on the platform as soon as they are ready , and thus each element being susceptible to review at that point . Her eight sections are :  Problem ; Hypothesis; Methodology/Protocol ; Data/Results ;Analysis; Interpretation : Real-world Implications ; Peer Review. It will be seen that the thinking leans towards the Open Science insistence in separating the publication of the first three elements in time prior to results being available . It also encompasses another strand of funder thinking – all the work that has been accepted and funded , through increasingly expensive selection processes , should subsequently appear on a platform and be peer-reviewed. The process of publisher/editor selection may not now be wanted on board ….”

Funding agreed for a platform that will change research culture – UKRI

“Research England grants £650,000 to help build Octopus into a new global service for scholarly communication.

Funding has been agreed to help develop a ground-breaking global service which could positively disrupt research culture for the better.

Announced today by the science minister, Amanda Solloway, Octopus Publishing Community Interest Company (CIC), in collaboration with Jisc, will receive £650,000 over three years from Research England’s emerging priorities fund.

The money will support development of a new platform for the scientific community. Called Octopus, it will provide a new ‘primary research record’ for recording and appraising research ‘as it happens’….”

Octopus. Built for Scientists.

“Scientific knowledge should not be locked behind paywalls, or only available to those who can read and write in English.

Scientific ideas and findings should be shared as quickly as possible.

Scientific work should be judged on its merits, and not on how good a “story” it tells: and so should scientific researchers.

These principles underlie the design of Octopus: a new way to share scientific work that recognises and rewards good practice, and serves the needs of both scientists and science itself….

In Octopus you publish work in units smaller than a “paper”.

You can write and share one of 8 kinds of publication (though we support custom types for different fields and research types):

Problem – a neatly defined scientific problem
Hypothesis/Theoretical Rationale – an original hypothesis relating to an existing published Problem or the rationale for how you think the Problem could be addressed
Method/Protocol – a practical method of testing an existing published Hypothesis
Data/Results – raw data or summarised results collected according to an existing published Method (can be linked to a data repository)
Analysis – a statistical or thematic analysis of existing published Data or Results
Interpretation – a discussion around an existing published Analysis
Translation/Application – “real world” applications arising from an existing published Interpretation
Review – a considered, detailed review of any of the above kinds of publication …”

Introducing Octopus – YouTube

“Dr Alexandra Freeman gives an overview of Octopus, A new way to publish your research that’s fast, free and fair.

Octopus focuses on recording primary research. It is not based on papers allowing users to publish smaller types of outputs instantly within a new structure, whether it is a hypothesis, a method, data, an analysis or a peer review …”

Science Minister announces UKRI’s open access policy – GOV.UK

“Many journals took the necessary step to make all their papers relating to COVID-19 freely available.

By sharing research as openly and quickly as possible, and learning quickly from negative results and any unsupportable conclusions, we delivered the vaccines and treatments that are our surest way to stopping this deadly pandemic in its tracks.

This should be an example to all of us of what’s possible when research culture changes, and when behaviour changes. And what can be done when open research practices are widely adopted, with no excuses. But this isn’t a new imperative. Open research is an agenda where the UK has long been in the global lead. When it comes to the UK’s position on this agenda – I’m a believer!

And we should recognise that we have made good progress. Significant amounts of publicly funded research have been made free to read and reuse.

Studies show that at least 28% of articles are now free to read – increasing to perhaps half of all articles by some measures. And a recent study of 1,207 universities found that some made as much as 80 to 90% of their research free to read in 2017 – with 40 of the best-performing 50 in Europe being UK universities….

And I am thrilled that we were able to get a strong G7 commitment to open science this summer as part of the UK G7 Presidency, with agreement to incentivise open science practices; and promote the efficient and secure processing and sharing of research data across borders that is as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Publishers, on the whole, have been responding to the incentives – and should be praised for showing leadership and not shying from the challenge we have set. Read-and-publish deals have been struck with Springer Nature, Wiley and the Microbiology Society. The pioneering open access publisher PLOS is piloting a new pricing scheme to eliminate author charges. And the ground-breaking Open Library of Humanities is now supported by over 300 institutions, making research across its 28 titles openly fully available to a wider audience….

Of course, there will be hurdles to overcome as everyone adapts. But the prize of open research is more valuable than any one stakeholder or business model.

The truth is that we must all go further.

There are still far too many articles that end up locked away behind paywalls – being cut off from an unimaginable range of useful applications in industry, in healthcare, or in wider society.

And when articles do become openly available, this is too often after a year or two has passed, when the embargo has finally been lifted and when in all likelihood the boat has sailed, the opportunity has passed, and the research field has moved on….

What I’m talking about here is work which is paid for by us all, in taxes. Work that we make a choice to invest in for our collective benefit.

And it’s work which is quality-assured by researchers themselves, through the network of volunteer peer reviewers.

Arguably, it is the ultimate public good….”

Cambridge scientist ‘breaks up the old-fashioned academic paper’ | Research Information

“Over the past two years, Freeman has been working on Octopus, an alternative publishing model that divides the various elements of publishing into eight different steps. This model allows for all the complexities and failures that are part of research to be published as part of the final output. Researchers will no longer have to cram all their work, often accrued over many years, into simplified, easy-to-read articles.

Freeman says: ‘Each of these mini publications will be publishable instantly, rather than submitted for peer review and selected by editors first. This way, research can be instantly in the public domain to be both reviewed and rated by all, speeding up research and solving some of the problems of the existing peer review process. The model will also credit researchers for their individual contributions and offer a tangible solution to the reproducibility crisis.’

For instance, Octopus allows for people who are specialists in research design to publish stand-alone protocols, those who have collected data to publish it (regardless of the size of the data), and for researchers specialised in analysing data to publish statistical analyses of data published by others. Each of these publications would be reviewed independently. This creates quality control through greater collaboration, and specialisation related to each step….”

Cambridge scientist ‘breaks up the old-fashioned academic paper’ | Research Information

“Over the past two years, Freeman has been working on Octopus, an alternative publishing model that divides the various elements of publishing into eight different steps. This model allows for all the complexities and failures that are part of research to be published as part of the final output. Researchers will no longer have to cram all their work, often accrued over many years, into simplified, easy-to-read articles.

Freeman says: ‘Each of these mini publications will be publishable instantly, rather than submitted for peer review and selected by editors first. This way, research can be instantly in the public domain to be both reviewed and rated by all, speeding up research and solving some of the problems of the existing peer review process. The model will also credit researchers for their individual contributions and offer a tangible solution to the reproducibility crisis.’

For instance, Octopus allows for people who are specialists in research design to publish stand-alone protocols, those who have collected data to publish it (regardless of the size of the data), and for researchers specialised in analysing data to publish statistical analyses of data published by others. Each of these publications would be reviewed independently. This creates quality control through greater collaboration, and specialisation related to each step….”