Weekly digest: discoverability, plain language summaries and open code

Mark Elms

This week, we read about the partnering of Pfizer with figshare to improve research discoverability. We also share two articles that discuss best practice for using plain language summaries alongside scientific publications. Finally, we read about the impact of a year of open access code at PLOS, and about the importance of inclusion, trust and democracy in science communication and publishing.

To read:

Pfizer partners with figshare to enhance the discoverability and impact of research via figshare | 2-minute read

In the latter half of 2021, pharma giant Pfizer partnered with the online open access repository figshare to enhance the discoverability and impact of Pfizer’s research. Through this partnership, Pfizer’s research output has been centralized, allowing better accessibility to publications for a wider audience and greater research impact. The figshare platform includes plain language summaries (PLS), open access research, and supplemental data associated with publications. Through this partnership, Pfizer is aiming for 95% of its research to be open access in the near future. You can access Pfizer’s figshare portal here.

Standardizing plain language summaries via Science Editor | 8-minute read

In this article published by the Council of Science Editors, Open Pharma’s Adeline Rosenberg discusses what PLS are and why they should be employed, and summarizes various cross-industry efforts for recommendations on best practice when creating them. The article includes an infographic and recommendations that were published in Current Medical Research and Opinion.

A ‘how-to’ guide for plain language summaries via BMC Research Involvement and Engagement | 10-minute read

In this research article, published in BMC Research Involvement and Engagement, the authors of the Patient Focused Medicines Development (PFMD) ‘how-to’ guide for co-creating PLS of scientific publications discuss the methodology behind the guide’s development. The guide comprises a set of seven steps for the creation of effective PLS, which were co-created through public consultation and working alongside patient advocates. It is freely available online, within the online Patient Engagement Management Suite toolkit.

A year of open code at PLOS via PLOS | 1-minute read

A year has passed since PLOS Computational Biology introduced mandatory code sharing upon publication as journal policy. A recent editorial sought to highlight the impact the policy has had on code-sharing practices. Prior to the policy, the rate of code sharing for research articles published in the journal was 53% in 2019 and 61% in 2020. After implementation of the policy, this increased to 87%. It is hoped that such policy-based approaches will ensure that code sharing becomes the norm within computational biology and beyond.

Developing infrastructures and trust for better research communication via Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics | 4-minute read

In the modern world – in which code, artificial intelligence and enormous data sets frequently underpin contemporary research – the infrastructures that have defined scientific research for years are becoming outdated and must change with the times. This is the opinion of the authors of this editorial published in Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics. The editorial highlights a number of articles published as part of a research topic on ‘Trust and Infrastructure in Scholarly Communications’.

Inclusion and democracy in open science via Samuel Moore | 3-minute read

In this blog, Samuel Moore, a research associate at Cambridge University, discusses a recent article focused on the newly launched Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS). HELIOS is an initiative for incentivizing open science practices to make research “more inclusive, transparent and efficient”. However, Samuel argues that such initiatives come at the expense of democratic self-governance and inclusion at the research institutes themselves.

Have you seen our recent commentary about user perspectives on plain language summaries? Read it here in Current Medical Research and Opinion.