Weekly digest: Open Pharma Satellite Symposium, peer review debate and metadata

Mark Elms

This week, we highlight the approaching Open Pharma Satellite Symposium. We also share news about an upcoming panel debate on the pros and cons of peer review. We read about why organized metadata are important in data sharing practices, about quality checking peer reviews, and about what the new White House open access guidance means for article processing charges and data sharing. We also read about PLOS’s reaction to the new White House guidance. Finally, we hear about Elsevier joining OASPA as a member.

To engage with:

Final call for the Open Pharma Satellite Symposium via Open Pharma

The Open Pharma Satellite Symposium is now less than a week away! Titled Who can we trust? Open science and pharma research, the symposium will take place just before the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) Annual Conference and Awards 2022 on 14 September 2022 in Manchester, UK. The symposium is free to attend and is open to everyone with an interest in open science within the pharma world. Spaces are now extremely limited but you can find the programme here and register here to secure your place!

The pressures of peer review: a discussion via Eventbrite

Though a mainstay of rigorous scientific publishing, the peer review process has critics as well as advocates. In this live panel debate, taking place at 17:30 BST on 21 September 2022 in London, UK, participants will discuss “the challenges and opportunities of peer review for science and health reporting” and ask the question “does peer review help or hinder science reporting?”. The debate is free of charge and is hosted by publishing experts from F1000 and Taylor & Francis, in association with the Association of British Science Writers. You can register to attend in person here.

To read:

Data sharing is futile without appropriate metadata via Nature | 4-minute read

Sharing data is all well and good, but if the data are unfindable or unusable, then this negates any of the anticipated benefits. This is the view of Mark Musen (Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Data Science at Stanford University), who argues that organized and searchable metadata infrastructures are needed to ensure that data is easily findable and usable, thereby properly conforming to the FAIR principles.

Using artificial intelligence to quality check peer reviews via Nature | 4-minute read

This article discusses a recent study – published as a preprint in July – that used artificial intelligence to evaluate the quality, thoroughness and helpfulness of 10 000 peer review reports submitted to 1644 science journals. The researchers found that reviews for higher impact factor journals tended to be longer and spent more time discussing methods rather than suggesting improvements, when compared to reviews for lower impact factor journals. They also found that reviewers for high impact journals were more likely to be from Europe or North America. However, due to high variability and only modest differences, the study concluded that journal impact factors are generally a poor predictor for the overall quality of peer review of an individual manuscript.

US federally funded open access publishing and APCs via The London School of Economics and Political Science | 6-minute read

Earlier this month, the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced that all federally funded research must be made immediately accessible to the public by the end of 2025. This article, written by Jefferson Pooley of Muhlenberg College, argues that, while this is clearly a landmark moment for the open access movement in the USA, the problem of the article processing charge (APC) for open access publishing remains and could potentially get worse. APCs are often prohibitive for authors wishing to publish their work, especially those in less well-funded fields such as the humanities and social sciences. However, Jefferson concludes his article by highlighting that the OSTP does intend to “consider measures to reduce inequities in publishing” in the future.

What does the OSTP announcement mean for data sharing? via The Scholarly Kitchen | 10-minute read

Following the OSTP announcement, also known as the Nelson Memo, the majority of discussion has focussed on journal and academic publishing models. However, the changes to data sharing policy within the announcement have been relatively underexplored. This is the opinion of Dylan Ruediger, a Senior Analyst at Ithaka S+R and a Society for Scholarly Publishing Fellow. In this article, Dylan outlines the changes to current data sharing policies following the Nelson Memo and what the implications of these changes are for researchers and repositories.

PLOS celebrates the OSTP announcement via PLOS | 5-minute read

The Nelson Memo was met with joy at PLOS, which has described it as “a tremendous step toward the future of scientific research communication” and “a watershed moment for the US research community”. In response to the memo, PLOS have looked inward at their own journals to see whether they meet or exceed the new OSTP requirements.

Elsevier becomes an OASPA member via OASPA | 5-minute read

Elsevier is one of the largest scholarly journal publishers in the world, with a portfolio of over 2700 journals, including Cell and The Lancet. It is therefore great to hear that Elsevier has joined the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA) as a member in the ‘Publisher’ category. In this article, Laura Hassink (Managing Director of Scientific, Technical and Medical Journals at Elsevier) discusses why Elsevier has joined OASPA, what it hopes to gain from its membership, and what the future goals of Elsevier are in relation to open access publishing. 

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