Weekly digest: published peer review, preprints, and article processing charges

Luke Bratton

This week, we look behind the scenes of the opt-in system for published peer review at PLOS journals, and we read about the slow start for Japan’s new preprint server Jxiv. We read a study showing that economic and personal factors are related to attitudes towards article processing charges, and we highlight an opportunity to provide feedback on the US artificial intelligence research strategy. Finally, we share an upcoming webinar on the use of social media to enhance scientific publications.

To read:

PLOS share insights into their peer review publishing system via PLOS Blogs | 6-minute read

Three years have passed since PLOS journals introduced a system for published peer review. Unlike other journals that mandate open peer review or that allow authors and reviewers to opt out of open peer review if needed, PLOS uses an opt-in system that gives reviewers the choice to sign their review and authors the choice to publish those reviews. This system results in a lower uptake of open peer review – around 40% of authors versus above 95% for journals with opt-out systems. Examining the proportions of authors who opt-in to peer review reveals that rates vary greatly between journals, with the more selective journals attracting more opt-ins. Reviewers are much more likely to sign their review if they accept the manuscript for publication than if they recommend a rejection.

Japan’s new preprint server Jxiv gets off to a slow start via Nature | 3-minute read

Japan is one of the most prolific producers of research output in the world, but preprint uploads by researchers in the country are not particularly common. Following the lead of other localized preprint servers, such as AfricArXiv, and in an effort to increase exposure to research outputs, Japan have opened their own repository named Jxiv. Unfortunately, the initiative has not been particularly popular since it launched in March this year, with fewer than 40 papers hosted to date.

What factors influence willingness to accept APCs? via arXiv | 40-minute read

Article processing charges (APCs) are a key component of many open access publication funding models, but there is evidence that APCs present a barrier to publishing for researchers from low-income countries. Hosted on arXiv, this preprint written by Francisco Segado-Boj and colleagues describes an international investigation into the relationships between attitudes towards APCs and a range of factors such as age, professional position, academic discipline and country income level. Respondents with external funding were more willing to accept APCs, and academics in middle- to low-income countries had the most unfavourable opinions about APC’s.

To engage with:

Help to inform the National AI Research Resource Task Force via Federal Register | 4-minute read

The progress made with artificial intelligence (AI) in recent years brings profound opportunities for pharmaceutical research and discoverability. The National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force is a US government-coordinated initiative that aims to create a national shared computing and data infrastructure for AI researchers across scientific fields. Until 30 June 2022, the NAIRR Task Force is inviting public feedback on how the findings of their interim report might be successfully implemented.

A webinar on the use of social media for published research via ISMPP’s Virtual Academy | 1-minute read

Social media can shape public perceptions of research outputs, for better or worse. Guidance on the use of social media to enhance publications is sparse and inconsistent. On 22 June 2022, the ISMPP Virtual Academy will be hosting a webinar bringing together experts from the regulatory, publishing and pharmaceutical industries to help participants understand the uses of social media for scientific publications and how to implement a social media strategy.

Have you seen our recent commentary about user perspectives on plain language summaries? Read it here in Current Medical Research and Opinion.