Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Katie Willetts

This week, we hear about ISMPP’s assumption of MPIP leadership and find out how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced scientific collaboration and publication in 2020. We explore certain concerns that the Plan S mandate could derail the ambition of improving access to scientific communication. We also look at the new guidelines for trials involving AI and how the Royal Society of Chemistry is leading the way in increasing diversity in publishing. Finally, we see that, despite tough times, there is still a strong community of volunteers working away to improve the landscape of scholarly publication.

ISMPP takes over organizational leadership of MPIP | via The MAP Newsletter | 1-minute read

In some of the biggest news of the week regarding medical publishing professional societies, the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) has announced its assumption of organizational leadership of the Medical Publishing Insights & Practices (MPIP) initiative. This consolidation will allow the two entities to improve how they streamline their existing crossover in their aims to elevate trust, transparency and integrity in the industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated scientific collaboration and open access publishing in 2020 via Science Business | 3-minute read

This week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published its Science and Technology Innovation 2021 report. Unsurprisingly, the report focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen unprecedented levels of global scientific collaboration. Between January and November 2020, approximately 75 000 scientific papers on COVID-19 were published. More than three-quarters of these COVID-19 publications were open access, compared with less than half of biomedical publications on other topics. However, the report also warns of gaps in science policy that the pandemic has revealed and that must be addressed to deal with future crises. Read the full report here.

Plan S assigns ‘transformative journal’ status to 160 Elsevier journals | via Research Professional News | 1-minute read

In a recent statement from Elsevier, the publisher has committed to ensuring that, “any author who wants to publish open access in any one of our journals, across all disciplines of research, can do so while also meeting their funder’s requirements”. Reflecting this, 160 Elsevier titles have accordingly been assigned the ‘transformative journal’ status by Plan S, meaning they have committed to gradually transitioning to offer only open access publication. Journals that have signed up to the open access promise include many in Cell Press, according to Plan S funder, cOAlition S

Doubts over the true impact of the Plan S mandate on open access publishing | via Times Higher Education | 4-minute read

To add to previous setbacks to this month’s roll out of the Plan S open access mandate (including a year-long delay and withdrawal of support from the European Research Council) there is now concern that the price of accessing scientific data will just be transferred from subscription fees for readers to high article processing charges (APCs) for authors; APCs for big players in the industry such as Nature and Cell are about £8000, a fee that Plan S architect Robert-Jan Smits describes as “outrageous”. Smits hopes that the publication of a transparent breakdown of journal costs for compliant journals, due in 2022, will help to reduce APCs. Johan Rooryck, Executive Director of Plan S funder, cOAlition S, has said that introducing a cap on APCs would be a “last resort”, fearing it would prompt publishers to push their fees up to the maximum level. However, Rick Anderson, librarian at Utah’s Brigham Young University, doubts that Plan S will significantly affect prices, provided it remains, “more desirable to publish in some journals than in others”.

New guidelines for designing and reporting trials involving artificial intelligence published | via The Publication Plan | 2-minute read

The relatively new field of artificial intelligence (AI) and its wide-ranging applications in healthcare has raised concerns over how studies using this new technology are designed and reported. An extension to the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) 2013 statement has now been published and is to be used alongside the CONSORT-AI guidelines to standardize the information included in AI trial protocols. No doubt, over time, these guidelines will need to be updated to keep pace with the rapidly evolving field of AI in healthcare.

The Royal Society of Chemistry champions a new standard for diversity in publishing | via Royal Society of Chemistry | 1-minute read

The Royal Society of Chemistry has brought together 32 big names in publishing, including the BMJ, Cambridge University Press and PNAS in a joint effort to improve inclusivity and diversity within scholarly publishing. The participating publishers have committed to sharing diversity data from their communities and have set a minimum standard for inclusion in publishing in order to drive positive change.

Volunteers plough on through the pandemic | via The Scholarly Kitchen | 2-minute read

Todd Carpenter of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and one of the Scholarly Kitchen chefs, discusses how the pandemic has affected volunteer-driven projects. With so many community projects relying on the efforts of volunteers, there were fears about the futures of many organizations. Despite initial concerns, Carpenter is enthused by the number of projects that have grown, flourished and even seeded in the last year.

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