Weekly digest: Open Pharma research, peer review week, and the Nelson Memo

Mark Elms

This week, we highlight two studies carried out by Open Pharma that were presented at this year’s International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication in Chicago, USA. We highlight the upcoming Peer Review Week, taking place from 19 to 23 September 2022. We hear about the potential impact of the White House’s new policy on open access publishing for federally funded research, as well as Frontiers’ positive reaction to the policy. We also look at the launch of Elsevier’s Peer Review Workbench, and we read an opinion piece on the need for systemic reform in scientific communications to truly achieve open access. Finally, we watch a webinar discussing the skills and styles needed to write effectively for a patient audience.

To engage with:

The landscape of open access and copyright licence status of pharma-supported research via Open Pharma

Increasing open access to pharma-supported research can help improve transparency and foster public trust in the pharma sector. However, there is currently no automated tool to assess the rates of open access publishing across pharma companies. To address this, we at Open Pharma set out to determine the open access publishing rates for publications supported by the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, as well as any Open Pharma Member or Supporter outside the top 20, for 2019 and 2020. We also looked at the most popular copyright licence types used by pharma-supported articles, finding that CC BY-NC-ND (29%) and CC BY (28%) were the most common. This work was presented at the International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication 2022 in Chicago, USA.

The discoverability of plain language summaries on PubMed via figshare

Plain language summaries (PLS) of scientific publications can help increase the discoverability of research and make it accessible to a broader audience. However, if they cannot be found by the target audience, any potential benefits are negated. At Open Pharma, we therefore investigated whether PLS indexed on PubMed had been correctly tagged as PLS, to allow for them to be discovered. Our study, also presented at the International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication 2022, found that only 0.01% of all PubMed records include a tagged PLS. Moreover, 15% of these tags were not actually tagging PLS but rather other content, such as abstracts, or even empty content. We also found that, of the articles with correctly tagged PLS, only 78% were published open access.

Get ready for Peer Review Week! via Peer Review Week

Now coming into its 8th year, Peer Review Week 2022 will be taking place throughout the week of 19 to 23 September! This year’s theme is Research integrity: creating and supporting trust in research and will discuss “the ways in which peer review contributes to and reinforces trust in scholarship”. You can view the programme of events here and get involved here.

To read:

What is the potential impact of the new White House open access policy? via The Scholarly Kitchen | 10-minute read

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announcement implementing an open access mandate for federally funded research, also known as the Nelson Memo, is expected to shift a vast number of publications to gold open access. In this article, Christos Petrou (Founder and Chief Analyst at Scholarly Intelligence) assesses the current gold open access landscape across China, Europe and the USA, and quantifies the potential impacts of the Nelson Memo.

Frontiers fully support the progressive vision outlined in the Nelson Memo via Frontiers Science News | 8-minute read

Frontiers, a major publisher of exclusively open access scientific journals, have announced their strong backing of the guidance outlined in the Nelson Memo. In response to the announcement, Frontiers have published this briefing note that details the reasons why they fully support the new policy. These include the need for the public to have access to the latest scientific knowledge, especially in the face of current events such as the pandemic and global warming. Frontiers also believe the policy will help drive equity and equality within US research and will allow for greater scientific reach, quality and impact.

Elsevier launches the Peer Review Workbench via The Scholarly Kitchen | 10-minute read

With this year’s peer review week on the horizon, Elsevier have announced the launch of the Peer Review Workbench (PRW), a platform providing researchers with access to journal and manuscript metadata to allow research on peer review processes to be conducted. In this article, Bahar Mehmani (Reviewer Experience Lead in Elsevier’s Global Scientific, Technical and Medical Journals team) discusses how and why the PRW came into being, and what the future holds for the platform.

Open access in scientific publishing can only be achieved by systemic reform via The Varsity | 4-minute read

Open access publishing mandates are not the ultimate solution for fixing the current scientific publishing landscape. This is the view of Angel Hsieh from the University of Toronto in this opinion piece published by The Varsity. Angel argues that open access mandates will continue to disadvantage researchers at more poorly resourced institutions that may not be able to afford the article processing charges (APCs) associated with publishing open access. She argues that through open access mandates, the expense of publication is simply transferred from subscription fees at the reader’s end to APCs at the author’s end, maintaining the status quo in which publishers make vast profits from research. Angel states that more systemic reform is required and proposes a revised open access model.

To watch:

How to write effectively for patients via The Publication Plan | 50-minute watch

Writing for patients often requires different skills, styles and rules compared to those needed to write for healthcare professionals. In this webinar, Peter Llewellyn, of MedComms Networking, is joined by experts from IQVIA, who discuss the best ways to tailor healthcare communications toward patient audiences. Titled Writing for Patients: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?, this webinar is part of a series focusing on the world of medical writing, hosted on NetworkPharma.tv.

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