Weekly digest: digital features, open neuroscience and transparent COVID-19 publications

Mark Elms

This week, we listen to a podcast on the worth of digital features. We read about the Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform, about the transparency of COVID-19-related publications, and about a Jisc review into open access and transitional agreements. We also read the results of a survey of global author attitudes towards preprints, as well as the potential next steps to further enhance open science in scholarly publishing. Finally, we learn about the problems with ghost-writing peer reviews.

To listen to:

The worth of digital features via ISMPP | 24-minute listen

In this episode of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals’ (ISMPP) InformED podcast, join Caroline Halford (Development Director of Medical Education at Springer Healthcare), Adeline Rosenberg (Senior Medical Writer at Oxford PharmaGenesis) and Joanne Walker (Co-founder and Publishing Director at Becaris Publishing) as they discuss whether digital features are worth the effort. A follow-up to the ISMPP U webinar Digital features – are they really worth the effort?, the panel discuss some of the comments and questions submitted by the audience during the live webinar.

To read:

The Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform via PLOS Computational Biology | 25-minute read

Progress in neuroscience research is often hindered by the presence of studies with insufficient statistical power and inaccessible data sets. This article argues that the transparent sharing of neuroscience data through open science practices and infrastructures enables the creation of larger data sets that can address outstanding research questions better than individual data sets can. Published in PLOS Computational Biology, the article summarizes the Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform (CONP), an open science platform that aims to make neuroscience research, data and tools accessible to everyone. The CONP includes the CONP portal, a searchable data and content repository, and NeuroLibre, a preprint server for neuroscience manuscripts.

The transparency of COVID-19 publications via PLOS ONE | 16-minute read

This article, published in PLOS ONE, looks at how well COVID-19-related articles published in PubMed-indexed journals between January 2020 and June 2022 adhered to five transparency practices. These practices were data sharing, code sharing, conflicts of interest (COI) disclosure, source of funding disclosure and registration of protocols. The researchers found that although about 90% and 75% of articles provided COI or funding disclosures, respectively, the levels of data sharing, code sharing and protocol registration were “far from acceptable”.

Jisc launches a review into open access and transitional agreements via Jisc | 2-minute read

Jisc has announced the launch of a critical review into the landscape of open access and transitional agreements (TAs) at higher education institutions in the UK. The aims of the review include determining what proportion of scholarly literature is open access, evaluating the impact of TAs on costs and open access rates, and assessing the effect of TAs on the transparency of publisher open access processes. The findings of the review will be published in early 2024.

What are global researcher attitudes to preprint? via SocArXiv | 30-minute read

This preprint, hosted on SocArXiv, presents the results of a global survey of authors of research papers published in 2021 and early 2022. The survey aimed to assess authors’ attitudes towards preprints and levels of preprint adoption. It found that American and European respondents had “higher familiarity with and a stronger commitment to preprinting” than authors from other parts of the world. The survey also found that different scientific fields showed differing levels of preprint adoption, with physics, astronomy, mathematics and computer science reporting much higher levels of preprint use than other fields. The article also describes the respondents’ opinions on the benefits and drawbacks of preprints, and what could be done to improve them.

The next steps for open science via PLOS | 4-minute read

In this final instalment of a blog post series on open science, Alison Mudditt (CEO of PLOS) discusses what steps the scholarly publishing world could take next in order to further increase its adoption of open science practices. You can read the first three parts of this blog post series by clicking on the respective links: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Who you gonna call? Busting ghost writers for peer review via The Scholarly Kitchen | 4-minute read

Time-scarce principal investigators often delegate their peer review responsibilities to early-career researchers who complete them in the name of the principal investigator. This blog post by Laura Feetham (Reviewer Engagement Manger at IOP Publishing) argues that this type of “ghost-writing” is “detrimental to the principles of academic integrity and intellectual honesty”. Laura writes that it deprives the actual peer reviewers of appropriate credit, and it misrepresents the credentials and expertise of the peer reviewer. Instead of current ghost-writing practices, Laura suggests a number of potential solutions, such as co-reviewing.

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