Weekly digest: HIFA–WHO consultation, State of Open Data 2023 and APCs

Mark Elms

This week, we learn about Oxford PharmaGenesis sponsoring the global HIFA–WHO consultation. We read the State of Open Data 2023 report, and we learn about alternatives to APCs for open access publishing. We also read about the results of PLOS’ data sharing experiments, about an open science project to discover COVID-19 treatments, and about how members of the public access and use healthcare information. Finally, we read about a study trying to tackle the reproducibility crisis, and we watch a webinar celebrating 5 years of Plan S.

To read:

Oxford PharmaGenesis sponsors global HIFA–WHO consultation via Oxford PharmaGenesis | 2-minute read

Oxford PharmaGenesis has announced that it is sponsoring a global consultation to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information. The consultation, run by Healthcare Information For All (HIFA) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to demonstrate the widespread support for universal access to help secure the required high-level political and financial commitments. Launched in August and continuing until the end of 2023, the consultation includes an online global public survey, a thematic discussion on the HIFA forums in four languages, virtual and in-person events, and key informant interviews. You can learn more about the HIFA–WHO consultation here.

The State of Open Data 2023 via Digital Science | 1-hour read

Digital Science, in collaboration with figshare and Springer Nature, has released its annual State of Open Data report for 2023. As the longest-running longitudinal study into researchers’ attitudes towards open data, this year’s survey had over 6000 respondents from across the globe and, for the first time, asked respondents about their experiences of using artificial intelligence to collect and share data. The survey revealed a number of trends in researchers’ attitudes, which were used to develop a set of recommendations for the academic community to improve open data practices in the future.

What are the alternatives to APCs? via Nature | 8-minute read

Article processing charges (APCs) are a widespread – and often criticized – part of contemporary open access publishing. Critics of APCs point to their high costs and argue that they perpetuate global inequalities, meaning that open access publishing is only available to those who can afford it. Meanwhile, publishers argue that APCs reflect the costs of publishing journals and allow publishers to invest money back into publishing infrastructure and services. This article looks at alternative models to APCs for open access publishing, such as diamond open access, community action publishing, global equity publishing and Subscribe to Open publishing.

Results of data sharing experiments by PLOS via PLOS | 5-minute read

PLOS has been conducting two experiments to evaluate the use of data repositories by its authors and readers. The first experiment asked whether highlighting data repositories linked to published research with an eye-catching graphic increased access rates to the dataset. The second experiment asked whether giving authors the option to submit their data to a repository as part of the journal submission process increased repository use. PLOS tested the second question by integrating Dryad into the Editorial Manager Submission System for their journal PLOS Pathogens and then monitoring repository use. You can read the results of the two experiments in this summary by PLOS. You can also read the full results of the experiments in this preprint, or explore the raw data yourself.

Using open science to discover COVID-19 treatments via Science | 1-hour read

This research article published in Science reports the use of the COVID Moonshot project – a fully open science drug discovery campaign – to identify, create and test COVID-19 treatments. Following an internal crystallographic fragment screen, ideas for how to progress from fragments to lead compounds were crowd-sourced from the research community. The Moonshot project resulted in over 18 000 compound designs, over 10 000 biochemical measurements, nearly 500 ligand-bound x-ray structures and nearly 2500 synthesized compounds, which were all made publicly available in real time.

A review into how the public accesses and uses healthcare research and information via BMC Public Health | 1-hour read

A key principle of open science is making high-quality healthcare information available to all in order to support healthcare decision-making and improve health outcomes. This review, published in BMC Public Health, looks at how the general public accesses and uses healthcare information, including the sources used by members of the public to access healthcare information and their motivations for doing so. It also identified a number of barriers to accessibility, such as an individual’s mental and physical condition and the information being too long, too complex or using confusing language.

Overcoming the reproducibility crisis in science via Nature | 4-minute read

Science has a major reproducibility crisis, and high-profile scientific results frequently can’t be replicated by peers. In a recent study published in Nature Human Behaviour, researchers have attempted to tackle the reproducibility crisis in the field of experimental psychology by undertaking and replicating research “under the most rigorous and careful experimental conditions possible”. By doing so, they achieved an 86% replication rate, which is significantly better than previous attempts in the field.

To watch:

5 years of Plan S: a webinar via YouTube | 2-hour watch

Celebrate 5 years of Plan S with this webinar from cOAlition S! The webinar, which originally took place on 2 November 2023, brings together funders, researchers and experts from the publishing world to discuss the achievements of Plan S and what the future holds for scholarly communication. Expert speakers include Johan Rooryck (Executive Director at cOAlition S), Robert-Jan Smits (President of the Executive Board of the Eindhoven University of Technology), Heather Joseph (Executive Director at SPARC), Bodo Stern (Chief of Strategic Initiatives at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute), Arianna Becerril-García (Executive Director of Redalyc and President of AmeliCA), Gemma Modinos (Chair of the Young Academy of Europe) and Marc Schiltz (President of Science Europe).

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