Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Steph Macdonald

Featuring new methods for linking data sets to authors, the upcoming launch of medRxiv and a summary of the revised Plan S guidelines.

Increasing recognition by linking authors to their data sets via Nature

As we move towards a more transparent publishing system, researchers are increasingly encouraged to share their data; however, less emphasis has been placed on measuring the value of data sharing or how we should recognize those who do. There is currently no well-defined system for linking authors to their data each time it is reused. The article published this week in Nature proposes that system IDs are assigned to data sets (PIDs) in the same way in which a manuscript is assigned a digital object identifier. PIDs can then be linked to multiple authors, using their ORCID identifier. A similar system could also be used to link data sets to funding bodies and institutions. The technical services for data citation are already available from non-profit organizations, such as DataCite and Crossref. Demonstrating the reach of accessible data sets will hopefully increase the use of metrics to measure an authors’ commitment to data sharing when assessing grant applications.

The new preprint server on the block via The BMJ

Preprints and preprint servers are not new concepts. Their values in accelerating the communication of clinical research were recognized by The BMJ in 1999, with the launch of the first clinical preprint sever ClinMedNetPrints.org. The server was shut down in 2008 after receiving only 80 submissions; however, times have changed, and the need for rapid dissemination for research has increased. More recently, preprints have become more popular among researchers in physical and life sciences submitted to the arXiv and bioRxiv servers, respectively. In the past, fear of causing harm has prevented many clinical researchers from embracing preprints. This week, The BMJ announced the launch of medRxiv, a preprint server dedicated to clinical research. Preprints submitted to medRxiv will be subject to several rounds of screening, including one to ensure that the content will not pose harm to patients or the public. The server is expected to launch on 25 June 2019.

Fresh guidance on Plan S received with mixed views from the academic community via The Scholarly Kitchen

Last week, cOAlition S shared the revised version of Plan S to mixed views from the academic publishing community. Although the overall goals of the plan remain the same, feedback received earlier in the year has led to numerous changes to the implementation guidelines. The most notable of these changes is the delay to the plan’s implementation, pushed back to January 2021 from January 2020. The plan adds further clarification to journal compliance, with hybrid and mirror journals both to be excluded. More controversial changes include the removal of caps on article processing charge (APC), with the new guidelines only insisting on the transparency of APCs. One thing for certain is that the controversial plan is continuing to shake up academic publishing, and will fuel discussions for the additional year leading up to its launch.