Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Sarah Hewitt

This week, we hear from four researchers who discuss the effects of high article processing charges on inclusivity and hear an opinion from Tribune on the benefits of publicly owned publishing. Meanwhile, we learn that SAGE has recently retracted over 30 fraudulent papers, and we see how preprints may benefit from trusted intermediaries. Finally, we hear how patient learning tools can be designed to be accessible to all and learn about a case study for running social media video content for the healthcare industry.

High APCs may reduce inclusivity in scientific publishing via Times Higher Education | 4-minute read

As the push towards open access (OA) tears down paywalls, making science accessible to all, researchers in developing countries are struggling to publish under escalating article processing charges (APCs). In this article, four Brazilian researchers discuss the prohibitive costs of APCs and the challenges facing researchers in upper-middle-income countries such as Brazil. The authors suggest the extension of full waivers to lower-middle-income countries and the extension of substantial automatic discounts to upper-middle-income countries.

Socialist solutions to publisher profits via Tribune | 6-minute read

The traditional publishing model sees publicly funded universities paying to both publish and access their own work, with profits going to large publishers. Despite being a step in the right direction, the gold OA model has paved the way for high APCs, which are ultimately paid for by public research funding. Conversely, initiatives such as the Rights Retention Strategy allow researchers to follow the green OA model. Under the Rights Retention Strategy, which is endorsed in Plan S, authors retain the copyright to their work and can therefore make their final article freely available in a public repository. Tribune argues for a publicly owned scientific publishing system that would ensure scientific knowledge is owned and controlled by the people who benefit from it.

SAGE retracts more than 30 fraudulent papers via Retraction Watch | 6-minute read

SAGE Publishing has retracted more than 30 articles after finding similarities in their text and suspected image manipulation. The papers were flagged by Elisabeth Bik alongside some 400 other suspicious articles. The fake papers were likely generated by ‘paper mills’, which produce and sell fraudulent manuscripts. SAGE says that it has now employed more thorough peer review processes, including the evaluation of raw data.

Preprints need a trusted intermediary via The Geyser | 8-minute read

As the COVID-19 pandemic has developed, the visibility of preprints has increased dramatically. However, the increased access to preprints has raised concerns for some over the spread of potentially inaccurate, non-peer reviewed information. This piece discusses the inclusion of preprints in point-of-care evidence-based clinical information tools such as UpToDate and BMJ Best Practice. These platforms are trusted intermediaries that implement strong filtering and may therefore provide a means to rapidly disseminate the scientific information held in preprints without the potential risk of spreading health misinformation that can accompany unvetted preprints.

Genetic counselling materials should be understandable by all via RARE Revolution | 5-minute read

Genetic counselling involves complex and emotive discussion around genetic risk and testing. Cultural or socio-economic language barriers can present additional difficulties for patient decision-making. The Decision-aid & E-Counselling for Inherited Disorder Evaluation (DECIDE) tool was designed to teach users about genomic concepts and to assess their priorities using plain language. This article also discusses how DECIDE was successfully translated into Simplified Chinese and Punjabi to help serve diverse communities.

A case study of social media video content for the healthcare industry via The Publication Plan | 2-minute read

Video content is expected to soon overtake text as the most common content type on the Internet. A recent article presents a case study of the YouTube channel Industry Voice, which shows interviews on current research trends with leaders in the pharmaceutical and clinical research industries. The interviews have proven popular thanks to key considerations on topic selection, choice of speakers, location, format and the use of analytics. Social media videos could help encourage transparency and open discussion in the healthcare industry.

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

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention