Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we look at how deep learning could make citations smarter and how a rogue editor network infiltrated a chemistry journal. We also find out about updates to the AAAS’s green open access policy, the increasing use of preprints among journalists and how the Center for Biomedical Research Transparency is shaking up its summit series. Finally, we learn how often predatory journal articles are actually cited.

Could deep learning make citations smarter? via The Wiley Network | 4-minute read

Citations are important – they are the cement that allows scientists to build upon previous research. However, the raw number of citations tells us very little about the relationships between papers. For example, if a paper has a large number of citations, does this mean many other researchers have confirmed its conclusions? Or refuted them? A new platform called scite uses deep learning to give citations more context and, therefore, more meaning, including whether a cited article has been supported or contradicted, where in a paper a citation appears and whether or not a citation is a self-cite. scite is currently working with publishers, including Wiley and BMJ, to analyse the citations in their publications.

Rogue editor network infiltrates Springer Nature journal via Chemistry World | 3-minute read

A group of fraudsters recently infiltrated the peer-review system of the Journal of Nanoparticle Research, a chemistry journal published by Springer Nature. Using fake email addresses to impersonate respected academics, the scammers convinced the journal to commission a special issue. The group, who handled peer review for that issue, then proceeded to accept several papers that, under normal circumstances, would have been rejected by the journal. Journals that are duped in this way can suffer considerable reputational damage, so the Journal of Nanoparticle Research has been commended for its openness about this scam.

AAAS updates green open access model via Science | 4-minute read

To comply with Plan S, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which publishes the Science family of journals, has opted to update their green open access policy. Previously, the publisher had allowed authors to share their manuscripts only on personal or institutional web pages and did not allow redistribution of manuscripts. Now, authors funded by cOAlition S organizations will be able to share their accepted manuscripts online under open access licenses. This means that authors will be able to immediately post their work in online repositories such as the US National Institutes of Health’s PubMed Central.

Pandemic brings about boom in preprint use by journalists via Health Communication | 30-minute read

As timelines for traditional academic publishing and the peer-review process are outpaced by real-time COVID-19 developments, journalists are increasingly turning to preprint manuscripts as news sources. But how well do journalists convey the uncertainty associated with preprint research? In this analysis, the authors looked at how the results of 100 influential preprints were reported across 15 online media outlets. They found that more than half of the investigated news stories used some kind of framing device to emphasize the uncertainty associated with the results, such as stating that the research has not been peer reviewed.

Center for Biomedical Research Transparency Summit: shaking things up for 2021 via CBMRT | 1-minute read

In a year when we’ve all had to figure out new ways of doing things, the Center for Biomedical Research Transparency (CBMRT) has taken the opportunity to shake up their Biomedical Transparency Summit. In 2021, the fourth year of the CBMRT summit series, the summit will take place virtually and, instead of the usual full day of presentations, a series of shorter sessions will be hosted on 26 February, 16 March and 26 March. These sessions will involve presentations from speakers as well as ample time for discussion. This year’s line-up includes speakers Michael Lauer (National Institutes of Health), Ana Marušić (Standard Operating Procedures for Research Integrity), John Inglis (medRxiv), Ida Sim (University of California San Francisco Informatics and Research Innovation), and Johan Rooryck (cOAlition S), and panellists from industry and research organizations. Participants can expect discussion on topics including research integrity, transparency and global open access policy developments. Early registration is now open.

Predatory journal articles receive few citations via Publications | 30-minute read

Papers published in predatory journals receive an average of 2.6 citations in the first 5 years after publication, compared with an average of 18 citations for papers published in reputable journals, report the authors of a recent study. The study also shows that 56% of predatory journal articles have no citations 5 years after publication, versus just 9% of reputable journal articles. The authors conclude that, owing to their lack of citations, the generally poor-quality articles published in predatory journals have little impact on the scientific output of other researchers. However, they note that predatory journals can still have other negative impacts, including spreading misinformation to the public and undermining the development of credible open access journals.

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