Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Adeline Rosenberg

Featuring the COVID Symptom Tracker, a comparison between the COVID-19 and 2002–2003 SARS outbreaks, new ISMPP authorship guidance, a collaboration of international scientific advisers calling for open science, an opportunity for the NIH, viral genome sequencing efforts, the digital transformation of data sharing and future conferences.

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptom tracking: crowdsourced data collection via King’s College London

A free data collection app called COVID Symptom Tracker has been developed by Tim Spector, who is a Professor at King’s College London’s Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, in collaboration with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre, TwinsUK, the Wellcome Trust and ZOE. The app allows UK residents to record information about their health status to help epidemiologists to understand symptoms and progression better, and to identify high-risk areas and track the spread of the virus. Appeals to the British public to download the app have featured on BBC News.

Pandemic responses are ‘turbocharging’ open science via Research Professional News

This article from Oxford PharmaGenesisChris Winchester and Bobby Thompson compares the data-sharing response to the current COVID-19 outbreak with the response to the 2002–2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. The 17 years between the two epidemics have allowed for advances in both technology and attitudes towards data transparency through the use of preprint servers and genomic data-sharing platforms.

New authorship guidance from ISMPP via The Publication Plan

Following the lockdown measures put in place in a number of countries as a result of COVID-19, the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) has released new guidance around the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors authorship criteria. Authors who are unable to fulfil these criteria owing to COVID-19-related responsibilities may still be included in the author bylines, but the final decision will lie with the journal or publisher.

A silver lining for open science via Electronic Frontier Foundation

An international call for all COVID-19 research to be freely available online has already been endorsed by scientific advisers in 12 countries. As argued by Rory Mir, open access to research data during a global health crisis is a human right.

Sim et al. 2020: an opportunity for the NIH via Science

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest public funding body of biomedical research in the world and, as such, has the opportunity to take a leading role in data sharing. Here, Sim and colleagues outline the steps that could bring the NIH closer to actualizing this ambition: establishing standards for repositories, requiring authors to commit to repository publication at the research proposal stage, and developing an infrastructure for reporting on data-sharing plans.

A nationwide SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing effort via Research Professional News

A consortium of UK researchers and institutions, led by the Wellcome Sanger Institute, will begin the rapid genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 from UK patients with COVID-19 to map the spread of the virus and track the possible emergence of novel strains. This endeavour is being funded with a collective £20 million from the Government Office for Science, UK Research and Innovation and the Wellcome Trust.

The future of digital science via STAT News

With preprint servers such as bioRxiv receiving between 25 and 30 new coronavirus-related papers a day, the COVID-19 outbreak has led to increased digital demands on websites. Peer-reviewed journals and preprint servers alike must therefore adapt their processes to meet the sudden influx of online traffic.

Online conferencing solutions via The Scholarly Kitchen

Conference cancellations as a result of COVID-19 can be especially problematic for early-career researchers, who rely on such exposure events for networking. Luckily, a range of software packages and online platforms exist, or are currently being developed, to enable virtual conferencing. Here, Sami Benchekroun and Michelle Kuepper of Morressier discuss the benefits of several of the different apps and technologies available.

Open Pharma would again like to encourage all our readers to look after themselves and their community, and be sure to follow advice from their country’s government and health organizations.

Coronavirus mental health and wellbeing resources:

Mind UK

Mental Health Foundation UK

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention