Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Adeline Rosenberg

Featuring the need for digital preservation of journals, COVID-19 and the evolving research landscape, a ‘historic pledge’ from pharma regarding the COVID-19 vaccine race, the use of academic social networks, an analogy for data sharing and the monetary value of publications.

The case of the vanishing journals via Science Mag

In the absence of sufficient digital preservation measures, 176 open access journals in the sciences, social sciences and humanities have disappeared from the Internet over the past 20 years. What’s more, a recent arXiv preprint has identified a further 900 open access journals at the risk of following the same fate. Although Plan S requires journals and publishers to plan for digital preservation and commercial services such as the Public Knowledge Project Preservation Network exist to enable archiving, only one-third of the journals indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals have put measures in place to ensure the long-term maintenance and posterity of their online content.

How COVID-19 is changing the research landscape via The Publication Plan

Over the past few months, we have discussed the evolving trends in research culture resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the increasing use of preprints and open access publishing. However, it’s not just publications that have seen major change recently; a report from Digital Science has highlighted important developments in other areas of research, such as inter-institutional collaboration and geographical trends in research output that mirror the viral spread.

Vaccine developers commit to ensuring scientific integrity via BioPharma Reporter

The race for a COVID-19 vaccine has been heavily politicized in the light of the upcoming US presidential election and concerns of ‘deep state’ involvement in vaccine development has caused much of the public to question the integrity and rigour of the scientific process. To combat these concerns and restore public confidence in medical research, the CEOs from nine of the leading pharma companies in the COVID-19 vaccine race have come together to sign a ’historic pledge’ outlining their commitment to following fair and ethical regulatory processes and prioritizing safety and efficacy over politics. The signatories include AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi.

Boudry and Durand-Barthez 2020: uptake of academic social networks via PLOS ONE

This analysis of the online presence of 1047 researchers from Université Caen Normandie evaluated the uptake and use of four academic platforms (Academia.edu, ORCID, ResearcherID and ResearchGate). Overall, 673 (64.3%) of the researchers had a profile on at least one platform, with ResearchGate leading the way with 569 (54.3%) profiles, but only 16 (1.6%) researchers were signed up to all four sites. Stratification of the results by research discipline, career advancement and gender found an over-representation of experienced male researchers and researchers in science, technology and medicine.

The selfish article via The Scholarly Kitchen

If an individual is the fundamental unit of natural selection, the scientific article can be considered the fundamental unit of data sharing. Here, Tim Vines (Founder and Project Lead at DataSeer) explains how using this analogy can help answer the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of data sharing and aid stakeholders in aligning their goals and data sharing policies.

Rousseau et al. 2020: the value of publications via Research Policy

Financially valuating and appraising scientific publications is an important process for policymakers but is often overlooked by academics and scholars. In this Research Policy article, Rousseau et al. discuss the merit of making such valuations and consider the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches and methods of assessing the monetary value of publications.

We at Open Pharma would like to continue to encourage all our readers to look after themselves and their community and continue 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