Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Amy Williams

Featuring pharma taking the lead on sharing clinical trial results, where preprints end up, and the identity of peer reviewers.

Pharmaceutical companies set the pace in sharing clinical trial results via The BMJ

It’s gearing up to be an exciting autumn for open science, with many still reeling from the announcement of Plan S. This week, another high-profile story emerged in the form of a comprehensive reporting tool for analysing clinical trial reporting rates in Europe by research funder. The headline of the paper is that, generally speaking, reporting is poor, with only approximately 50% of clinical trials run by funders meeting EU reporting guidelines. Another finding, however, is that trial reporting rates for pharmaceutical companies are significantly higher than for universities, with many large pharmaceutical sponsors being completely or almost 100% compliant. Overall, the average reporting rates for commercial sponsors was 68%, compared with 11% for non-commercial funders. The European Medicines Agency has responded positively to the study, vowing to improve how it communicates its standards to trial sponsors.

Where do preprinted papers end up? via Crossref

As biomedical researchers increasingly choose to preprint their papers, more and more data surrounding their use can be gathered to analyse the practice. This blog post by Crossref looks at which journals publish the highest number of preprinted papers. The author finds that PeerJ takes the top spot, followed by Scientific Reports, eLife, PLOS and PNAS. The article concludes by urging more researchers and Crossref members to explore and analyse the data on their REST API themselves, and to make the most of the linkage information found within to analyse patterns and trends in publishing.

Write a piece for Open Pharma! via Open Pharma

This week, we put out a call for guest post suggestions. We welcome anyone with an interesting point of view on relevant topics to share their stories with Open Pharma followers. View the post to read our editorial policy, and, if you’re interested in suggesting a post, please get in touch!

The patient perspective on open access via The Guardian

There are many who stand to gain from the growth of open access publishing, but a group often overlooked is patients. Patients rarely have institutional access to research and may face considerable costs when researching their own conditions. In this piece, Guardian columnist George Monbiot reflects on his experiences trying to access research following his cancer diagnosis, and having to turn to the pirate site Sci-Hub to learn about his condition. The piece ends with a call for all research to be published open access and with congratulating the principles of Plan S as a step towards this goal.

Who are peer reviewers? via Nature News & Comment

Peer Review Week 2018 has been in full swing this week; its theme: inclusion and diversity. This report, compiled by Publons, reviews data from surveys of over 11 000 researchers across the globe, as well as from databases of Web of Science, ScholarOne and Publons. The top-line findings of the report highlight the growing fatigue of reviewers among researchers participating in the surveys and the unequal burden for reviewers across countries, with academics in the USA and the UK being asked to review far more frequently than their counterparts in developing countries. This difference was suggested to be the product of editor networks remaining largely centred in wealthy countries. The results of the report support calls during Peer Review Week to increase inclusion and diversity in peer review, given that researchers in developing nations are keen to write peer reviews but are invited less frequently than reviewers from more developed countries, and that journals are finding it increasingly difficult to source reviews.