Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we hear from cOAlition S about green open access and feature announcements from Elsevier and the Dutch Research Council. We also look at what kinds of manuscripts should be deposited on preprint servers – and what kinds should be removed. Finally, we learn about publishing networks that streamline the publication process.

Green open access undermines progress: cOAlition S responds via OASPA | 5-minute read

Robert Kiley (Head of Open Research at Wellcome and Coordinator at cOAlition S) and Johan Rooryck (Executive Director at cOAlition S) present the response of cOAlition S to last week’s open post from several representatives from large academic publishers about their concerns surrounding the rise of immediate green open access publishing models. Robert and Johan agree with the open post on some points – for example with the statement that, for deposition in repositories, the Version of Record is preferable over the Author Accepted Manuscript. However, they disagree with the open post’s claim that online repositories confuse the scholarly record. Representatives from Jisc and the Confederation of Open Access Repositories have also prepared responses to the open post.

Elsevier signs San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment via Elsevier | 3-minute read

Publishing giant Elsevier has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), joining over 2000 other organizations, including fellow publisher Springer Nature. This declaration is a set of recommendations for assessing the impact of scientific outputs that aims to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics (such as journal impact factors) and instead encourages the assessment of research based on its own merits. Elsevier has also announced that it will make reference lists from all articles published in Elsevier journals openly available via Crossref.

Dutch Open Science Fund is an incentive for individual researchers via LSE Impact Blog | 6-minute read

In this article, representatives from the Dutch Research Council announce a new open science funding initiative. The Open Science Fund, which is modelled on the Wellcome Open Research Fund, will provide grants of up to €50 000 to researchers employed at Dutch public research institutions. This is intended to help them develop and implement innovative ways of making research open and transparent. The Dutch Research Council hopes that these grants will advance open science in ways that will benefit the entire research community while also rewarding individual researchers.

Preprint progress in the pandemic year via the BMJ | 5-minute read

The health science preprint server medRxiv has posted 12 000 articles in 2020 – a substantial increase from 2019, the year in which it was launched. As a result, the management team at medRxiv has had to update its policies and practices in response to the deluge of papers the preprint server has received, most of which are about COVID-19. These have included training more ‘screeners’, who decide whether a submission is within the scope of medRxiv, and recruiting more affiliates, who assess whether the content of a submission is potentially harmful to public health.

Fake news: should preprints ever be ‘retracted’? via The Scholarly Kitchen | 10-minute read

Preprint servers don’t only solve problems – they also create them, suggests Brigham Young University librarian Rick Anderson, in this opinion piece. Although many preprint servers have procedures for screening submissions and are clear about the preliminary nature of the manuscripts they host, this is not always the case. This provides a loophole for unscrupulous authors to disseminate harmful and pseudoscientific findings, which get further spread by others who can’t, or won’t, distinguish between non-vetted claims and legitimate research. Rick suggests that preprint servers should do more to flag potentially dangerous falsehoods in the manuscripts they host and should even retract preprints when the public good requires it.

Could publishing networks streamline the publication process? via Wiley | 4-minute read

Authors often submit and resubmit their manuscripts to several different journals before they are finally accepted. This means multiple rounds of formatting and peer review, all of which eat into the time of busy researchers. Publishing networks, such as the recently launched Developmental Science Publishing Network, present an efficient solution to this problem. Publishing networks allow journals to refer a submitted article to a more suitable journal within their network, helping authors find a quicker route to publication.

We at Open Pharma would like to continue 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