Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we explore how academics have been spending their time during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact this is having on scholarly publishing now and in the future. We also look at the report from the 8th EMWA Symposium. Finally, we ‘Poké’ a bit of fun at predatory journals.

COVID-19-fuelled publications boom (and bust?) via The Scholarly Kitchen | 7-minute read

In this article, Christos Petrou, founder of and Chief Analyst at Scholarly Intelligence, investigates the apparent COVID-19-fuelled growth in scientific output this year. Christos estimates that around 90 000 COVID-19-related papers have been published this year but thinks that the pandemic-related research only partly accounts for the increase. Another explanation may be that researchers who have been unable to carry out laboratory work have had time to write and publish results from completed (and ongoing) research projects. This has led to speculation that publishers may see a dearth of manuscripts over the next few years.

Survey finds changes in publishing habits during pandemic via The Scientist | 7-minute read

In this interview, Chantelle Rijs, Head of Communications at Frontiers, discusses the results of the publisher’s recent survey on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the research output of academics across the globe. The survey gathered responses from an impressive 25 307 participants from 152 countries and found that writing papers for publication is currently the most common task carried out by academics. What’s more, the survey revealed changes in attitudes towards open science, with researchers reporting that they are now more likely to publish open access, share their data or use a preprint server. Find the full results of the survey on the Frontiers website.

Should preprints become the new normal? via Undark | 7-minute read

In this opinion piece, ex-librarian-turned-heath journalist Marcus Banks argues that the rise in the use of preprint servers, particularly in medicine and the life sciences, has been one of the few good things to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marcus also discusses the online ecosystem that is developing around preprint platforms, including community-curated preprint collections like preLights and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Rapid Reviews: COVID-19, which provides swift peer review of papers on preprint servers.

Survey reveals state of journal production and access via Scholastica | 20-minute read

Scholastica has released its first report on the state of journal production and access. Based on the results from a survey of scholarly publication professionals, the report reveals that fully open access models are the most widespread, with 80% of respondents saying that their organization opts for full open access. Conversely, around 50% of respondents reported they do not use, and do not want to use, green open access or hybrid models.

Report from the 8th EMWA Symposium released via The Publication Plan | 15-minute read

The meeting report for the 8th European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) Symposium, which took place virtually on 6 November 2020, has been released. This year’s symposium focused on research integrity and what medical communications professionals can do to improve it. The first session featured:

  • Sandra Petty (Neurologist at the University of Melbourne) discussing the importance of open access for maintaining research integrity
  • Simon Linacre (Director of International Marketing & Development at Cabells Scholarly Analytics) explaining how predatory publishers threaten research integrity
  • Anna-Lisa Fisher (Global Process & Data and Platform Owner, Medical Communications Management at Boehringer Ingelheim) describing how academia might learn from industry.

Find the reports from sessions 2 and 3 online.

Pokémon! Gotta catch that fraud! via The Scientist | 5-minute read

When not studying horizontal gene transfer in stick insects, National Taiwan University Assistant Professor of Entomology Matan Shelomi enjoys submitting fake, Pokémon-themed manuscripts to predatory journals. However, as Matan explains in this opinion piece for The Scientist, it’s not all fun and games, especially when publications in predatory journals become potent sources of misinformation masquerading as legitimate research.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we at Open Pharma would like to encourage all our readers to look after themselves and their community and to continue to follow advice from their country’s government and health organizations.

Coronavirus mental health and well-being resources:

Mind UK

Mental Health Foundation UK

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention