Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Adeline Rosenberg

During this period of social distancing and uncertainty, we at Open Pharma hope that all of our readers are staying safe and healthy. We also know that the deluge of information on the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak can be incredibly taxing on our mental health. Links to several wellbeing resources can be found at the bottom of this week’s digest. Open Pharma would like to encourage you all to look after yourselves and your community, wash your hands, and be sure to follow advice from your country’s government and health organizations.

And now the latest news in open science!

MDPI endorses the Open Pharma position statement! via Open Pharma

We at Open Pharma are pleased to announce that the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) has now endorsed our position statement on open access. MDPI’s endorsement of our vision of transparent publishing aligns with its current open access policy. This now brings us to a total of 30 organizational endorsements, including eight publishers!

The data we don’t have via Stat News

Professor John Ioannidis, of Stanford University’s Meta-Research Innovation Center, says that, with quarantines and lockdowns slowing data collection and research, a large number of COVID-19 cases remain undiagnosed and are therefore not accounted for in current estimates. As it stands, reported fatality rates are disproportionate, and most healthcare systems lack the infrastructure to implement large, cross-sectional screening studies that are needed to provide accurate information on the epidemiology of the outbreak.

Case tracing in Canada via CBC News

In addition to the case reporting currently being carried out by provincial health authorities, Isha Berry, a PhD candidate in epidemiology at University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, has compiled and standardized individual data sets on a national level in an online dashboard. Other freely available data-sharing platforms such as ViriHealth and NextStrain are also enabling Canadian researchers to collaborate and track COVID-19 cases.

Complexity, collaboration and co-creation  via Elephant in the Lab

Solving complex and variable research problems requires collaboration and co-creation. Researchers and research institutions alike are embracing complexity, ignoring arbitrary interdisciplinary boundaries, and driving meaningful communications as a result of COVID-19. Dr Benedikt Fecher, of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, says it’s time for political and economic institutions to do the same.

The COVID-19 Open Research Dataset via Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Microsoft and the National Library of Medicine have launched the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19). This freely available compilation of 29 000 articles from peer-reviewed journals and preprint servers was set up in response to a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Expediting publication processes via The Scientist

Journals are expediting peer review and editorial processes to keep up with the surge of incoming coronavirus publications; The New England Journal of Medicine alone is receiving up to 40 new coronavirus-related submissions per day. Although the risk of reviewers overlooking errors in the study design and analysis is increased, Professor Andrew Ward, of The Scripps Research Institute, says most submitted data will have followed rigorous processes and will be robust and reliable.

What is the USA waiting for? via The Washington Post

Earlier in the year, China was praised for rapidly generating the SARS-nCoV-2 genome sequence and sharing it on the open data platform GenBank, allowing research teams across the world to begin working on vaccines. However, the USA doesn’t seem to be treating the crisis with a similar sense of urgency; policy change to ensure taxpayer-funded research is openly shared could turn this around.

Over 30 publishers commit to open science via The Wellcome Trust

This Wellcome Trust press release details the commitment from over 30 publishers to make their coronavirus-related content freely available and machine readable on PubMed. This agreement comes as a result of a partnership between the Wellcome Trust, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Library of Medicine.

Elsevier’s open access coronavirus platform via Health Europa

A new platform from Elsevier, named the COVID-19 Information Center, hosts over
19 500 open access coronavirus publications available on ScienceDirect. This resource has already gained attention from more than 250 000 users worldwide.

Coronavirus mental health resources:

Mind UK

Mental Health Foundation UK

Centre for Disease Control