Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Amy Williams

Featuring the Royal Society’s plan to combat the replication crisis, a new peer review tool for BMC journals, and the Open Pharma podcast!

The Royal Society commits to publishing replication studies via the Royal Society

The ‘replication crisis’ has been highlighted as a major problem in social and life science research in recent years, and has now prompted the Royal Society to launch an initiative encouraging study replication. The replication crisis has resulted from the fact that many studies, particularly those in the field of social sciences and psychology, are underpowered and are rarely conducted more than once, meaning their results are not necessarily reliable. As part of the initiative, the Royal Society promises to publish all close replications of any article published in the Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience section of Royal Society Open Science, and also aims to publish replications of studies in other major journals. The Royal Society has identified a lack of incentive to conduct replication studies as a key factor underlying the crisis, and so, by offering publication opportunities in high-profile journals to researchers willing to reproduce research, it hopes to encourage more researchers to get involved with this important research activity.

In Review’ tool designed to open up peer review in four BMC journals via BMC

Open Access publisher BMC has announced that four of its journals (BMC Neurology, BMC Anesthesiology, BMC Ophthalmology and Trials) will be utilizing a new tool that has been designed to open up the peer review process. Following launch, authors with papers submitted to these journals will have access to detailed information about the review process, including information on how many reviewers have been invited, and immediate access to review reports as they are returned to the journal. The platform also allows the work to be shared and commented on while the review is underway using the Hypothes.is annotation tool.

Predatory publishing on the Open Pharma podcast via Open Pharma

This week saw the launch of the Open Pharma podcast, which focused on the benefits of open access in medical publishing and the best ways to steer clear of predatory publishers. The episode features interviews with the CEO of Oxford PharmaGenesis and co-founder of Open Pharma, Chris Winchester, and with publisher Mary Yianni from Taylor & Francis. We would love to hear your thoughts on the podcast format, so if you have something to say, let us know via our Contact page!

It’s up to funders and librarians to shape the future of publishing via Medium

In this fiery critique of the current publishing environment, mathematician Dmitri Zaitsev presents an unflattering picture of the current publishing system. The criticisms are ones that readers of the Open Pharma blog will be familiar with – that publishing research is too expensive, too slow, too bureaucratic and outdated. The piece argues that consumer action will lead the way in fixing publishing, and that, by not demanding newer tools better fitted to their needs, librarians and research funders are wasting their money. The author congratulates the recent subscription cancellations from various European research libraries, notably those in Germany and Sweden, and also the recent declaration of Plan S, as a step in the right direction towards shaping a publishing system that works in today’s research environment. Although industry sponsors are not mentioned in the piece, it is clear that industry must be involved in these negotiations with publishers to avoid falling behind academia.