Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?


Featuring the announcement of the new collaborative service GetFTR, advancements in European policies for open science and digital enhancements in medical publishing

All researchers want for Christmas is to Get Full-Text Research via The Scholarly Kitchen

Last week, a group of top scholarly publishers announced a joint effort to improve access to journal articles. Their new service, ‘Get Full-Text Research’ (‘GetFTR’), is free to use and has been designed to enhance article discovery by informing users whether a full-text article is available and if they have access to it. Recognizing that many researchers may have limited access to content, GetFTR also offers an alternative version of the article, often a preprint or a read-only file. The initiative is driven by the American Chemical Society, Springer NatureTaylor & Francis Group, Wiley and Elsevier, the latter of which will pilot GetFTR in the first quarter of 2020. The article encourages other publishers and online research providers to engage with GetFTR to facilitate access to articles, offering a fresh approach to open science within the research community.

The European Commission is taking active steps towards open science via Frontiers

Key stakeholders of the European Commission (EC) are advocating a holistic approach to facilitating open science within the European Union (EU). These sentiments are echoed in the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe, which requires data to be open by default and articles to be uploaded to the repository of choice within 6–12 months of publication. The protection of scientific information, data security and patient privacy concerns may hinder such efforts; however, the principle of “as open as possible, as closed as necessary” has been adopted to remind participants in EU-funded projects of the importance of open science while also taking into account all the aforementioned issues. Continued support from organizations such as the World Health Organization will further emphasize the moral and ethical incentives for open science.

Although the transition to open science is an ongoing and challenging process involving engagement from all stakeholders of the EC, these discussions offer hope and future direction for open science.

Digital features in medical publishing via The Publication Plan

How can authors boost the reach of their publications? A number of journals now offer digital features, such as animations, podcasts, infographics and video abstracts, with the aim to increase the impact of their research articles. Providing more readily digestible information has the potential both to reach a wider audience and to offer a convenient overview of content to often busy healthcare professionals. The use of digital enhancements was encouraged alongside poster presentations in a number of congresses in 2019, including the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress. With the assistance of social media and technology, the future of digital enhancements seems set to expand and broaden its remit to encompass interactive tools that will enable readers to interact with and interpret data.