Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Steph Macdonald

Featuring the launch of the Open Pharma position statement on open access, an introduction to the Open Science in Action Inaugural Symposium and a call to action for the UK government to do more to ensure transparent clinical trial reporting.

To open access and beyond via Open Pharma

Open Access Week 2019 kicked off with a bang for Open Pharma with the launch of our position statement on open access at the NetworkPharma MedComms Brunch Meeting. The statement, which has already featured in an article in The Telegraph, calls on scientific and medical publishers to allow pharma the same rights to publish open access that are offered to other funders. This would make pharma-funded research free to read, from the date of publication, for anyone, anywhere in the world.

As of Wednesday 23 October, the position statement has already received endorsements from 40 individuals and 10 organizations, namely Ataxia and Me, Kidney Research UK, Observational & Pragmatic Research Institute, Oxford Health Policy Forum, Oxford PharmaGenesis, SUDEP Action, ThinkSCIENCE Inc., the pharma company Galapagos NV and the publishers F1000 and Wiley. Individual endorsers of the statement are from academia, funding bodies, patient groups and pharma, and hail from Belgium, Canada, the UK, Uruguay and the USA. We have been blown away by the support that we have already seen, just a few days after launching our position statement!

For those who haven’t already, you can read and endorse our position statement here or download it from our figshare page.

Putting open science into action via The Neuro

Advocating for accessible science isn’t just for Open Access Week. The Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital (The Neuro) is continuing the open access conversation with its Open Science in Action Inaugural Symposium on Monday 18 November, in Montreal, Canada. Moderated by Susan Usher (Health Innovation Forum), the symposium offers attendees the chance to engage with global experts in open science, including keynote speakers John Wilbanks (Sage Bionetworks), Dario Taraborelli (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative), Russ Poldrack (Stanford Center for Reproducible Neuroscience) and Brian Wallach (I am ALS). For more information and to register for free, click here!

Complete trial transparency – not just a fantasy via TranspariMED

The UK government needs to step up to repair the image of the public health system that has been damaged, at the expense of the taxpayers, by unregistered and unreported clinical trials. Over recent years, through the efforts of some research funders (including pharma), publishers and universities have begun to see gradual improvement in clinical trial reporting. However, none of these stakeholders cover all clinical trials, leaving transparency for 100% of clinical trial always just out of reach.

Governments, on the other hand, have both the power and the reach to ensure compliance in clinical trial registration and reporting. All clinical trial ethics approvals in the UK are archived using a central platform, which means that the UK government has the ability to conduct central checks to monitor which trials were both registered and reported. With an estimated cost of just €1 million, compared with the staggering cost of research waste, one might ask why a centralized monitoring system is not already in place.