Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Steph Macdonald

Featuring researchers’ fears surrounding clinical trial registries, a roundup of the events planned for Open Access Week 2019 and the release of the Open Pharma Charter.

The terrifying tale of the clinical trial registry and the rejected manuscript via TranspariMED

Every neighbourhood has an urban legend, a scary story that’s told around a campfire. In the academic community, researchers are told the terrifying tale of the scientist who, after publishing the results of their clinical trial in an online repository, had their work rejected by journal editors on the basis that the results were available elsewhere. Given that career progression in academia is still largely determined by a researcher’s ability to publish in a high-impact journal, it is no wonder that stories like this set fear into the hearts of academics.

Step in TranspariMED, as this mystery’s team of detectives, who turned to some experts in trial transparency to see if there was any truth behind these urban legends. “We hear this too and constantly ask for examples of it happening in the real world but no one has provided one,” said Nick DeVito of the EBM DataLab in Oxford, UK. Journal editors have also stated that, as per the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidelines, they do not consider researchers posting results on clinical trial registries as prior publication.

Reporting clinical trial results in online repositories doesn’t just increase the speed at which research is communicated, but also prevents unreported data going to waste, and the duplication of research efforts by other groups. It also presents a more complete representation of clinical trial outcomes than the highly polished story that is presented in a journal article.

TranspariMED hopes that other academics will follow the positive example set by some leading universities, including the University of Oxford, which clearly does not have an issue with publishing its work in high-impact journals, despite reporting the results of their clinical trials in such repositories.

Bringing open access to a town near you via International Open Access Week

On Monday 21 October, Open Pharma is marking the start of Open Access Week with the launch of its position statement on open access at the NetworkPharma MedComms Brunch Meeting in Oxford. Open Pharma is not the only group that will be celebrating Open Access Week this year; more than 140 events are taking place worldwide! Advocates at the Pomorska Academy in Słupsk, Poland, are holding laboratory classes for students from 21–25 October on copyright licences and law, in addition to best practices for data sharing. Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, is hosting lunches with open access experts on campus from 21–24 October, and Durban University of Technology, South Africa, has organized a public lecture about open access. Anyone unable to attend this year’s live events in person can participate in one of the many open access webinars that are taking place in number of locations, including Canada, Germany and Ukraine.

For the full list of events or to find out more, visit the Open Access Week event page!

The Open Pharma Charter (drumroll please) via Open Pharma

To plan a successful mission, you need a clear set of objectives. With this in mind, the Open Pharma team is delighted to announce the release of its Charter, which outlines the goals of Open Pharma to improve the transparency, accessibility, speed and efficiency of medical publications. The Charter also provides readers with insight into the governance of Open Pharma and lists the companies involved in the project, either as Members or as Supporters.

Visit the Open Pharma resources page or figshare page to read or download the Open Pharma Charter!