Accelerating scholarly communication: The transformative role of preprints

“The overall objective of this study was to explore the place of preprints in the research lifecycle from the points of view of researchers, research performing organisations, research funding organisations and preprint servers/ service providers. Our investigation covered:

` Core benefits and usage in the case of researchers, including incentives and disincentives

` Attitudes of research performing organisations (RPOs) and research funders

` Values, strategies and aims of service providers….”

Identification of Influencing Factors Regarding the Decision for or Against an Open Access Publication of Scientists of Medical Informatics: Description and First Results of Group Discussions and Interviews

Abstract:  Open Access provides researchers another opportunity of publishing, besides the traditional publication in subscription-based journals. Providing higher dissemination and therefore visibility as well as better accessibility, among others, Open Access helps to fulfil changed needs of authors and readers in our information and communication society of today. Though this publication model provides a lot of advantages both for readers and authors, there are also some obstacles. In order to identify the incentives that can lead scientists of medical informatics to an Open-Access-publication, we conducted a study consisting of group discussions, interviews, and surveys. This tripartite evaluation starts in its first part with group discussions and interviews. First results of them show that, among others, the higher visibility, indexing, Impact Factor and better accessibility are factors for an Open-Access-publication.

On the philosophy of what research is for | Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

“So what is research for? Here are three possible answers.

A. Some people believe (or maybe I should say assume) that research is for the world — for the betterment of the lot of society as a whole, the eradication of illness, the understanding of the environment, and generally the benefit of humanity. As pleasant side-effects, it also feeds publishing businesses and advances researchers’ careers.

B. Some people believe (or assume) that research is primarily for the benefit of the economy: that the principle purpose of the whole process is the financial benefit that accrues to publishers and related professions. As pleasant side-effects, it also advances the world’s knowledge and advances researchers’ careers.

C. Some people believe (or assume, or at least give the impression of assuming) that research is mostly about the careers of researchers — about giving them a way to prove their merit and advance up the career ladder. As pleasant side-effects, it also advances the world’s knowledge and feeds publishing businesses….

[Robert Harrington says:] 

I would suggest that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with a subscription model.

This may be true for “B”s (who might prefer the subscription model because they think it yields the most revenue) and for “C”s (who might want to place their work in a specific paywalled journal that is well regarded in their field). But it’s much less likely for “A”s, who see great public benefit in free access, and conversely great harm in arbitrary barriers….”

The Economic Impacts of Open Science: A Rapid Evidence Assessment | HTML

Abstract:  A common motivation for increasing open access to research findings and data is the potential to create economic benefits—but evidence is patchy and diverse. This study systematically reviewed the evidence on what kinds of economic impacts (positive and negative) open science can have, how these comes about, and how benefits could be maximized. Use of open science outputs often leaves no obvious trace, so most evidence of impacts is based on interviews, surveys, inference based on existing costs, and modelling approaches. There is indicative evidence that open access to findings/data can lead to savings in access costs, labour costs and transaction costs. There are examples of open science enabling new products, services, companies, research and collaborations. Modelling studies suggest higher returns to R&D if open access permits greater accessibility and efficiency of use of findings. Barriers include lack of skills capacity in search, interpretation and text mining, and lack of clarity around where benefits accrue. There are also contextual considerations around who benefits most from open science (e.g., sectors, small vs. larger companies, types of dataset). Recommendations captured in the review include more research, monitoring and evaluation (including developing metrics), promoting benefits, capacity building and making outputs more audience-friendly.

Significant economic benefits? Enhancing the impact of open science for knowledge users | Impact of Social Sciences

“A key political driver of open access and open science policies has been the potential economic benefits that they could deliver to public and private knowledge users. However, the empirical evidence for these claims is rarely substantiated. In this post Michael Fell, discusses how open research can lead to economic benefits and suggests that if these benefits are to be more widely realised, future open research policies should focus on developing research discovery, translation and the capacity for research utilisation outside of the academy….”

The advantages of UK Biobank’s open access strategy for health research – Conroy – – Journal of Internal Medicine – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Ready access to health research studies is becoming more important as researchers, and their funders, seek to maximise the opportunities for scientific innovation and health improvements. Large?scale population?based prospective studies are particularly useful for multidisciplinary research into the causes, treatment and prevention of many different diseases. UK Biobank has been established as an open?access resource for public health research, with the intention of making the data as widely available as possible in an equitable and transparent manner. Access to UK Biobank’s unique breadth of phenotypic and genetic data has attracted researchers worldwide from across academia and industry. As a consequence, it has enabled scientists to perform world?leading collaborative research. Moreover, open access to an already deeply characterized cohort has encouraged both public and private sector investment in further enhancements to make UK Biobank an unparalleled resource for public health research and an exemplar for the development of open access approaches for other studies.

Cost-benefit analysis for FAIR research data – ENVRI community

FAIR research data encompasses the way to create, store and publish research data in a way that they are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. In order to be FAIR, research data published should meet certain criteria described by the FAIR principles. Despite this, many research performing organisations and infrastructures are still reluctant to apply the FAIR principles and share their datasets due to real or perceived costs, including time investment and money.

To answer such concerns, this report formulates 36 policy recommendations on cost-effective funding and business models to make the model of FAIR data sustainable. It provides evidence to decision makers on setting up short and long-term actions pertinent to the practical implementation of FAIR principles….”

Lifting the lid on preprints: part one

So as an academic author, what is important to know about preprints? We [Elsevier] have asked two experts to shed some light on the topic: Gregory J. Gordon, President and CEO of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), which joined Elsevier in 2016, and Courtney K. Soderberg, statistician at the Center for Open Science (COS) in Charlottesville, Virginia….”

Data sharing and how it can benefit your scientific career

“Ecologist Thomas Crowther knew that scientists had already collected a vast amount of field data on forests worldwide. But almost all of those data were sequestered in researchers’ notebooks or personal computers, making them unavailable to the wider scientific community. In 2012, Crowther, then a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, began to e-mail and cold-call researchers to request their data. He started to assemble an inventory, now hosted by the Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative, an international research collaboration, that contains data on more than 1 million locations. Data are stored in CSV files (plain-text files that contain a list of data) on servers at Crowther’s present laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and on those of a collaborator at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; he hopes to outsource database storage to a third-party organization with expertise in archiving and access.

After years of courting and cajoling, Crowther has persuaded about half of the data owners to make their data public. The other half, he laments, say that they support open data in principle, but have specific reasons for keeping their data sets private. Mainly, he explains, they want to use their data to conduct and publish their own studies.

Crowther’s database challenges reflect the current state of science: partly open, partly closed, and with unclear and inconsistent policies and expectations on data sharing that are still in flux….”

Scientists who share data publicly receive more citations | Science Codex

“A new study finds that papers with data shared in public gene expression archives received increased numbers of citations for at least five years. The large size of the study allowed the researchers to exclude confounding factors that have plagued prior studies of the effect and to spot a trend of increasing dataset reuse over time. The findings will be important in persuading scientists that they can benefit directly from publicly sharing their data.

The study, which adds to growing evidence for an open data citation benefit across different scientific fields, is entitled “Data reuse and the open citation advantage”. It was conducted by Dr. Heather Piwowar of Duke University and Dr. Todd Vision of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and published today in PeerJ, a peer reviewed open access journal in which all articles are freely available to everyone….”