Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we learn about a landmark step from the US Food and Drug Administration, a new national transformative agreement for Spain and how open science principles can be incorporated into policy. We also look at the attitudes of researchers at different career stages towards data sharing, why cOAlition S is not supporting hybrid open access and UCL’s Open Science Conference.

FDA issues first ever fine for trial reporting violation via Science | 3-minute read

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued its first ever fine to a company for failing to report its results on ClinicalTrials.gov. The fine was issued to USA-based drug company Acceleron Pharma after it failed to make the results of a clinical trial publicly available within 1 year of trial completion. Acceleron Pharma now has 30 days to make the results available or it will face financial penalties. Though the FDA has had the power to fine companies for non-compliance with trial reporting laws since 2017, this is the first time it has exercised that power. Read more about this story here and here.

Springer Nature announces national transformative agreement with Spain via STM Publishing News | 4-minute read

Publishing giant Springer Nature has agreed a new transformative agreement with the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (Crue Universidades Españolas) and the Spanish National Research Council. As Springer Nature’s fourteenth national transformative agreement, this deal will allow researchers at 58 Spanish universities to publish open access in Springer Nature’s 2300 journal titles. The scheme is expected to lead to more than 2200 open access articles from Spanish authors.

Open science principles must be incorporated into policy via The New England Journal of Medicine | 7-minute read

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent imperative to adopt the principles of open science. However, many researchers still have not adopted these principles, and it is not enough to rely on researchers to make these changes voluntarily, argue the authors of this perspective piece. Instead, policymakers must take this opportunity to implement mandates and incentives in order to make open science the norm. Suggested policies to implement include providing additional funding to allow researchers to fulfil data-sharing requirements, cracking down on clinical trial reporting non-compliance and investing in open-science platforms for government-funded research.

Younger researchers more open to sharing via The Official PLOS Blog | 4-minute read

Early career researchers report more positive attitudes towards the sharing of code compared with more experienced researchers, finds recent research carried out by open access publisher PLOS. Researchers at PLOS surveyed the attitudes of PLOS Computation Biology authors towards mandatory code sharing, following the introduction by the journal of a mandatory code-sharing policy in March 2021. They found that authors with fewer than 20 papers had more positive responses towards journals with mandatory code-sharing policies than authors with more than 100 papers. The research also showed that medical researchers were less likely to have positive attitudes towards code sharing compared with researchers in other fields. Read the preprint reporting the full results here.

cOAlition S will not support hybrid open access via cOAlition S News | 10-minute read

In this blog post, cOAlition S explains why it won’t financially support hybrid open access journals unless they adopt transformative agreements as a step towards becoming fully open access. cOAlition S organizations argue that hybrid open access journals are too expensive and don’t facilitate the transition to full open access quickly enough. They also argue that most of the money paid towards hybrid open access goes to large publishers, leaving little money for smaller, more innovative companies.

Watch UCL’s Open Science Conference recordings online via Open@UCL Blog

Recordings of the presentations from day one of the University College London (UCL) Open Science Conference are available online now. The conference, which took place on 26 and 27 April 2021, covered topics including the future of open access, technical solutions for open access, the role of metrics and the power of citizen science. You can also watch the recordings from day two here.

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Coronavirus mental health and well-being resources:

Mind UK

Mental Health Foundation UK

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention