Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Steph Macdonald

Featuring the upcoming MedComms Brunch Meeting on open access, an investigation into the future of open access publishing, news from the third Asia Pacific Meeting of ISMPP and the scientific community’s toxic definition of success.

Let’s talk open access – over brunch via MedComms Networking

Who said that open access publishing wasn’t a discussion for the brunch table? On Monday 21 October, NetworkPharma is kicking off Open Access Week 2019 with their MedComms Brunch Meeting at the Magdalen Centre in Oxford, UK. The meeting, which is free to attend, aims to provide insight into the recent studies on open and transparent publication of pharma-funded research and the role of professional medical writers in supporting the quality and timeliness of clinical trial reporting.

In addition to delivering a presentation on our progress so far and future plans, Open Pharma will be launching our position statement on open access. The position statement outlines our immediate priority and long-term goal to ensure that all research is published open access, regardless of how it was funded, so that it is available to anyone, anywhere. The position statement will be available to download from the Open Pharma blog and figshare page, after the launch.

Click here for more information and to register your interest!

Where will open access publishing be in 2025? via bioRxiv

The open access movement is revolutionizing the way in which research is published. Understanding the growth and uptake of open access publishing is therefore key for future policy decisions of all research stakeholders. A recent preprint, posted to preprint server bioRxiv earlier this week, investigated the current proportion of articles published open access and the proportion of article views accounted for by open access publications. In 2019, 31% of all journal articles were available open access, compared with just 22% in 2010. Open access articles accounted for 52% and 29% of all article views in 2019 and 2010, respectively. Through extrapolating the existing trends in open access publishing, the study authors predict that by 2025, 44% of all journal articles will be published open access, accounting for 70% of all article views. As highlighted in the article, this extrapolation is conservative and does not take policy changes, such as Plan S, into account. One thing is for certain, the future looks promising for open access publishing.

A spotlight on the Asia Pacific region via The Mapp

This September marked the third Asia Pacific Meeting of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), which took place in Tokyo, Japan, and saw a record attendance of over 140 participants from 12 countries. To accommodate the growing demand for medical publications in the Asia Pacific region, this year’s meeting focused on ‘Bridging global standards and regional practices’. Following an informative keynote address from Kazuhiro Hayashi of the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, attendees were invited to participate in a number of interactive learning sessions and roundtable discussions on a variety of topics, including the use of technology in publishing and patient involvement in medical communications. All presentations are available to download, for non-commercial use, from the ISMPP member centre.

The benefits of negative thinking via Nature

In April 2019, Genome Biology published something highly unusual: an article reporting a failed experiment. This week, the author of the article spoke to Nature about their experience with the scientific community’s ‘toxic’ definition of success. The research reported in the paper, although interesting and beneficial to other scientists, wasn’t the polished, positive result that most journals are used to publishing, and it seems that the scientific community has forgotten the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work”.

The author highlights a paper from 2012, which revealed that by 2007 more than 85% of published articles were from positive studies. Anyone who has ever worked in a lab will know that this is not an accurate representation of scientific research. Researchers, editors, publishers and funders need to make a commitment to publishing and to supporting sound negative or inconclusive research, not just the highly polished studies presenting only the positive results.