Weekly digest: rare disease publications, open access metrics and transparent peer review

Luke Bratton

This week, we mark Rare Disease Day by discovering open access publications on rare diseases and look at global usage metrics for open access publications. We read about the willingness of authors to publish their peer review discussions, and we consider the role of medical communications professionals in tackling health inequalities. Finally, we share a free course on open science from Sorbonne University.

To read:

Highlighting open access research on Rare Disease Day via ScienceOpen | 6-minute read

Rare Disease Day takes place annually on 28 February to raise awareness for the 300 million people living with a rare disease worldwide. To mark the occasion this year, ScienceOpen have highlighted a number of publishers with rare disease publications, the majority of which are open access.

Knowledge Unlatched reveal open access usage metrics via Knowledge Unlatched | 3-minute read

In February, Knowledge Unlatched announced the removal of cost barriers for hundreds of publications as a result of their crowdfunding campaign. Usage metrics reveal that the country with the highest usage of open access books is the USA, that English language and literature was the most popular subject, and that the University of Edinburgh was the institution with the highest use of free content. Over 450 medical publications are now free to read on the Open Research Library platform.

Publishing peer review exchanges for all to see via Nature | 3-minute read

Peer review discussions are mostly kept confidential, concealing the important input of reviewers from public view and providing little opportunity for early-career researchers to observe the process. Over the course of 2021, Nature provided authors of prospective publications with the option to publish peer review discussions. Across all disciplines, nearly half of authors granted this access, with those publishing genetics and genomics research most frequently taking the opportunity to do so.

To engage with:

The role of medical communications professionals on Zero Discrimination Day via The Publication Plan | 2-minute read

Taking place on 1 March, Zero Discrimination Day promotes a global movement of solidarity to end all forms of discrimination. The Publication Plan highlights four ways the medical publications community can help tackle health inequalities through the promotion of open access publications, expanding the use of PLS, achieving diverse representation in clinical trials and promoting patient involvement in publications. Which do you think has the biggest impact? Cast your vote and see what others think at the bottom of The Publication Plan’s article.

A free course on open science from Sorbonne University via Sorbonne University | 2-minute read

Starting on 7 March 2022, Sorbonne University will be providing a free course giving a broad overview of open science topics, including the values of open science, models of research data production and dissemination, research evaluation issues and citizen science initiatives. Although aimed at doctoral candidates, course registration is currently open to everyone.

On a final note …

Take a look at our recent letter to the editor in Current Medical Research and Opinion clarifying PubMed’s plain language summary requirements here.

Have you listened to our podcast with Inspiring STEM Consulting about driving positive change in the communication of pharma-sponsored research? Listen to it for free here, along with the rest of the series – featuring how open access saves lives, accelerates discovery and promotes global equity.