Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we learn how preprint servers can aid in the detection of scientific fraud, how data-sharing policies could help us face the next pandemic and how the tweeting of articles predicts a future citation advantage. We also look at a call from European research organizations for open licences and an announcement from SAGE Publishing. Finally, we learn about the impact of the closure of Microsoft Academic.

Preprint servers help shine a light on research misconduct via The Scholarly Kitchen | 6-minute read

In this opinion piece, Michele Avissar-Whiting (Editor in Chief of Research Square, a multidisciplinary preprint server) shares her experiences of how preprint servers have helped to identify scientific misconduct and fraud thanks to their inherent transparency. Michele argues that depositing manuscripts in preprint servers allows the entire scientific community, rather than only a handful of peer reviewers and editors, to scrutinize the results, conclusions and legitimacy of scientific articles. Overall, she explains, an open access world is one in which ethical scientific conduct can thrive. 

Facing the next pandemic with data sharing via Nature | 4-minute read

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our shared global need for better pandemic preparedness. Several organizations are in discussions about future pandemic treaties, including the World Health Organization and the science academies of the G7 and G20 countries. One key topic for discussion is the need for the sharing of data – from the number of cases, deaths and vaccinations to the genome sequencing and tracking of variants to the monitoring of people’s movements and economic trends. Currently, such data is usually shared at the discretion of the owner. However, emergency data-sharing laws could be designed to come into effect during future pandemics to ensure timely and fair global information sharing.

Number of tweets predicts number of citations for articles via Journal of Medical Internet Research | 20-minute read

The tweeting of journal articles independently predicts higher numbers of citations for those articles than for articles not shared on Twitter, find the authors of this recent paper. The authors performed a post hoc analysis on 1666 articles published in five major gastroenterology journals in 2012. They found that articles that were tweeted by official journal Twitter accounts had a greater number of citations 3 years after publication than those not tweeted. Of the tweeted articles, retweeted ones also had more citations than those that were not retweeted.

Hundreds of institutions join call for open licences via Chemistry World | 2-minute read

A recent joint statement issued by the European University Association, Science Europe and CESAER on behalf 880 European universities, research organizations and funders has called for all publishers to allow authors to deposit their accepted manuscripts in repositories under open licences. The statement also argues that authors should be allowed to share material associated with their manuscripts, such as data and digital assets, while also retaining their rights over these items.

SAGE Publishing to offer open peer review via STM Publishing News | 2-minute read

SAGE Publishing is now offering transparent peer review using Clarivate’s Transparent Peer Review service. SAGE Publishing will be offering the service for four journals out of their portfolio of more than 1000 titles. Eligible papers will be published alongside their associated reviewer reports, author comments and editorial decision letters. Authors can choose whether or not to opt in to the service, and reviewers will also be offered the choice to publish their names with their reports or to remain anonymous.

Closure of Microsoft Academic is loss to open research community via LSE Impact Blog | 6-minute read

The closure of scholarly search engine Microsoft Academic at the end of 2021 represents a loss to the open research ecosystem. Microsoft Academic is the second largest scholarly search engine with almost 200 million indexed publications, but it has never been widely embraced by the research community and is used much less than other search engines like Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar and Web of Knowledge. However, its true value lies in the vast quantity of free publications metadata it provides via the Microsoft Academic Graph. This metadata source is used widely in commercial and non-commercial research, and it remains to be seen whether and how it could be replaced.

We at Open Pharma would like to continue to encourage all our readers to look after themselves and their community and to continue to follow advice from their country’s government and health organizations.

Coronavirus mental health and well-being resources:

Mind UK

Mental Health Foundation UK

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention