Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Akhil Bansal

This week, we see the results of collaborative scientific research and communication: we published our recommendations for plain language summaries of peer-reviewed medical journal publications and over 200 health journals worldwide simultaneously published an editorial calling for urgent action on climate change. In other news, a guide for research collaboration is released, the peer review process is undergoing transformation with increasing interest in open peer review, and the COVID-19 pandemic sheds light on the potential benefits and challenges of preprints. Finally, we hear about open access for scientific journalism and consider the impact of the UKRI Open Access Policy and Rights Retention Strategy on scholarly communication.

Introducing the Open Pharma recommendations for plain language summaries via Current Medical Research and Opinion | 5-minute read

Following our January roundtable meeting, a public consultation in March, a lot of hard work put in by the Open Pharma Accessibility workstream and the release of a preprint, the recommendations for plain language summaries have now been published in the peer-reviewed journal Current Medical Research and Opinion.

An unprecedented joint editorial for an unprecedented threat to humanity via The Guardian | 3-minute read

Last week, 233 health journals worldwide simultaneously published an editorial calling for leaders to take emergency action on climate change to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5°C, safeguard against the destruction of nature and protect health. The original editorial, co-authored by Open Pharma chair Richard Smith, can be found here.

A guide to research collaborations via PLOS Blogs | 5-minute read

Collaboration is essential in any field and, especially within scientific and academic research, can help improve the quality and impact of one’s work. This blog post offers a step-by-step guide on how to reach out to collaborators.

A panel discussion on open peer review via Science Open| 3-minute read

This year, Peer Review Week, an annual week-long event to celebrate and discuss the role that peer review plays in scientific and academic communication, is taking place on 20–24 September. Science Open is hosting an expert panel session on open peer review, which is any scholarly review mechanism whereby author and referee identities are disclosed to one another during the peer review process. Although it represents only a small fraction of peer review policy currently, open peer review is increasingly considered and accepted by authors and reviewers alike. An article on the pros and cons of open peer review can be found here. This event will take place on 24 September at 16:00–17:00 BST.

Increasing discussion about the merits and shortcomings of preprints via Nature| 5-minute read

This world view article argues that preprints allow results from scientific studies to be more quickly and broadly available, improving shareability, transparency and scientific collaboration. This has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the author argues that conscientious effort is needed to ensure that preprint research is high quality and makes key recommendations for minimizing the potential harms of the transfer of low-quality information to the public sphere. The debate over preprints came to a head in Australia this week as the Australian Research Council reversed its decision to ban preprint material from being cited in funding applications after widespread criticism.

Open access and the quality of scientific journalism via PLOS Blogs | 3-minute read

The communication of scientific discoveries is often complicated by a lack of easy and timely access to scientific research. This article argues for the benefits of open access in improving the quality of scientific journalism by supporting the ability of scientific communicators and journalists to produce timely and relevant reports on scientific discoveries.

UKRI’s commitment to open access and the Rights Retention Strategy via LSE Blogs | 6-minute read

Last month, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published an Open Access Policy that will require immediate open access for all peer-reviewed research articles published from 1 April 2022. In line with this, a number of research funders have endorsed the Rights Retention Strategy, by which authors can declare their manuscript to be open access. In this article, the author explores the Rights Retention Strategy and the potential impact it may have on scholarly communication.

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