The Impacts of COVID-19 on the Research Enterprise | Ithaka S+R

“The systems for communicating scholarship were stressed substantially during the height of the pandemic. The pandemic provided, in real time, a master class in the opportunities and challenges of speedy open early-stage research sharing.[90] The benefits of preprints, in enabling large-scale early-stage research communication, became apparent, as medRxiv and bioRxiv in particular saw a surge of submissions.[91] Other scientific communication has been even less formal than preprints.[92] Yet, in an environment of unrelenting public interest, and the unforeseen politicization of clinical care findings, preprint services have had to adapt rapidly, developing review systems to prevent misuse and providing disclaimers, among other changes.[93] Some observers felt these shortcomings risked launching an “infodemic of bad information.”[94] Some medical journals also launched a fast-track peer review process that demonstrated the efficiencies that could be driven, at least under emergency conditions, into their editorial processes. Many publishers made Coronavirus and related research papers freely available,[95] and some observers felt these developments were accelerating the shift towards open access.[96] At the same time, several papers evincing research misconduct were published in top-tier journals and subsequently retracted.[97] The combined effect of accelerating research communication and an endless thirst for public information about the disease led to single studies, in some cases themselves inadequate in terms of research design, driving a public narrative about potential treatments that were not thoroughly vetted.[98]…”

Ewelina Pabja?czyk-Wlaz?o, Poland: Open Science is a must, which was strongly shown by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic | Eurodoc

What are the main challenges for Open Science implementation in your country?

The biggest challenges in Poland are, first of all, the lack of awareness and lack of knowledge about Open Science among researchers. Despite the fact that there are many initiatives, events and courses, either available for free on the internet or as services and resources provided by university libraries, scientists in Poland do not always know what Open Science and related concepts are about. Another problem concerns the lack of systemic support in this regard at the university level or national level policies e.g. during research assessment. If these policies will not include incentives for researchers to practice OS, it will be very difficult to develop this habit and permanently introduce it into the researchers’ daily work. In addition, practicing OS requires specific skills, as well as some kind of administrative work, which, given the current heavy workload of researchers, may become another unwanted duty if universities do not provide support in this area. The discussion on this topic in Poland is still difficult – Open Science has many opponents and, sadly, it often applies to scientists themselves who do not distinguish OS practices from practices of predatory publishing houses….”

Data sharing policies of journals in life, health, and physical sciences indexed in Journal Citation Reports [PeerJ]

Abstract:  Many scholarly journals have established their own data-related policies, which specify their enforcement of data sharing, the types of data to be submitted, and their procedures for making data available. However, except for the journal impact factor and the subject area, the factors associated with the overall strength of the data sharing policies of scholarly journals remain unknown. This study examines how factors, including impact factor, subject area, type of journal publisher, and geographical location of the publisher are related to the strength of the data sharing policy.

Methods

From each of the 178 categories of the Web of Science’s 2017 edition of Journal Citation Reports, the top journals in each quartile (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4) were selected in December 2018. Of the resulting 709 journals (5%), 700 in the fields of life, health, and physical sciences were selected for analysis. Four of the authors independently reviewed the results of the journal website searches, categorized the journals’ data sharing policies, and extracted the characteristics of individual journals. Univariable multinomial logistic regression analyses were initially conducted to determine whether there was a relationship between each factor and the strength of the data sharing policy. Based on the univariable analyses, a multivariable model was performed to further investigate the factors related to the presence and/or strength of the policy.

Results

Of the 700 journals, 308 (44.0%) had no data sharing policy, 125 (17.9%) had a weak policy, and 267 (38.1%) had a strong policy (expecting or mandating data sharing). The impact factor quartile was positively associated with the strength of the data sharing policies. Physical science journals were less likely to have a strong policy relative to a weak policy than Life science journals (relative risk ratio [RRR], 0.36; 95% CI [0.17–0.78]). Life science journals had a greater probability of having a weak policy relative to no policy than health science journals (RRR, 2.73; 95% CI [1.05–7.14]). Commercial publishers were more likely to have a weak policy relative to no policy than non-commercial publishers (RRR, 7.87; 95% CI, [3.98–15.57]). Journals by publishers in Europe, including the majority of those located in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, were more likely to have a strong data sharing policy than a weak policy (RRR, 2.99; 95% CI [1.85–4.81]).

Conclusions

These findings may account for the increase in commercial publishers’ engagement in data sharing and indicate that European national initiatives that encourage and mandate data sharing may influence the presence of a strong policy in the associated journals. Future research needs to explore the factors associated with varied degrees in the strength of a data sharing policy as well as more diverse characteristics of journals related to the policy strength.

 

COVID?19 and the boundaries of open science and innovation: Lessons of traceability from genomic data sharing and biosecurity: EMBO reports: Vol 0, No 0

“While conventional policies and systems for data sharing and scholarly publishing are being challenged and new Open Science policies are being developed, traceability should be a key function for guaranteeing socially responsible and robust policies. Full access to the available data and the ability to trace it back to its origins assure data quality and processing legitimacy. Moreover, traceability would be important for other agencies and organisations – funding agencies, database managers, institutional review boards and so on – for undertaking systematic reviews, data curation or process oversights. Thus, the term “openness” means much more than just open access to published data but must include all aspects of data generation, analysis and dissemination along with other organisations and agencies than just research groups and publishers. The COVID?19 crisis has highlighted the challenges and shortfalls of the current notions of openness and it should serve as an impetus to further advance towards real Open Science.”

 

Frontiers | Preprints in Medicine: Useful or Harmful? | Medicine

“Research and its associated publications have had a considerable impact on the care and monitoring of the patients since evidence-based medicine became standard for modern medicine during the 1990s (1). Peer-reviewing is a fundamental component of scientific publication. The peer-review process first includes an evaluation of the quality and interest in the paper for the reader of the journal by the editor who, if he or she considers the article to be of interest, sends it to the external reviewers (2). If the paper is found to be interesting and of sufficient quality, the reviewers ask questions and make comments to which the researcher must respond in a rebuttal letter. If the answers are satisfactory, the article can be published. This is a time-consuming process, typically lasting months, and authors complain about the review time, which has been relatively stable since the 1980s (3)….”

Preprint manuscripts and servers in the era of coronavirus disease 2019

Abstract

Rationale, Aims, and Objectives

To both examine the impact of preprint publishing on health sciences research and survey popular preprint servers amidst the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID?19) pandemic.

Methods

The authors queried three biomedical databases (MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Google Scholar) and two preprint servers (MedRxiv and SSRN) to identify literature pertaining to preprints. Additionally, they evaluated 12 preprint servers featuring COVID?19 research through sample submission of six manuscripts.

Results

The realm of health sciences research has seen a dramatic increase in the presence and importance of preprint publications. By posting manuscripts on preprint servers, researchers are able to immediately communicate their findings, thereby facilitating prompt feedback and promoting collaboration. In doing so, they may also reduce publication bias and improve methodological transparency. However, by circumventing the peer?review process, academia incurs the risk of disseminating erroneous or misinterpreted data and suffering the downstream consequences. Never have these issues been better highlighted than during the ongoing COVID?19 pandemic. Researchers have flooded the literature with preprint publications as stopgaps to meet the desperate need for knowledge about the disease. These unreviewed articles initially outnumbered those published in conventional journals and helped steer the mainstream scientific community at the start of the pandemic. In surveying select preprint servers, the authors discovered varying usability, review practices, and acceptance polices.

Conclusion

While vital in the rapid dispensation of science, preprint manuscripts promulgate their conclusions without peer review and possess the capacity to misinform. Undoubtedly part of the future of science, conscientious consumers will need to appreciate not only their utility, but also their limitations.

The World Health Organization and Wikimedia Foundation expand access to trusted information about COVID-19 on Wikipedia

“The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, announced today a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19. 

The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts. 

Through the collaboration, people everywhere will be able to access and share WHO infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia. 

With these new freely-licensed resources, Wikipedia’s more than 250,000 volunteer editors can also build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage, which currently offers more than 5,200 coronavirus-related articles in 175 languages. This WHO content will also be translated across national and regional languages through Wikipedia’s vast network of global volunteers.”

Open Science responses during the COVID-19 pandemic – IndiaBioscience

“The COVID-19 pandemic, while affecting the lives and work of scientists all over the globe, has also enabled an outpouring of generosity and innovation when it comes to rapid and open sharing of research outputs. During the International Open Access Week 2020, we examine some of the initiatives taken by various national and international organisations to improve global access to COVID-19 research….”

Preprints and biological research in India: together in sickness and in health? – IndiaBioscience

“Uploading scientific studies to preprint servers before sending them off to journals for peer-review has become a standard practice in the physical and mathematical sciences. However, biologists have been slow in embracing the trend. In this article, Divya examines the advantages offered by as well as the risk associated with the widespread use of preprints during the time of the pandemic. …”

Reflections on Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Challenges and a Way Forward: Proceedings of a Workshop | The National Academies Press

“On November 18 and 19, 2019, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a public workshop in Washington, DC, titled Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Challenges and a Way Forward. The workshop followed the release of the 2015 Institute of Medicine (IOM) consensus study report Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Maximizing Benefits, Minimizing Risk, and was designed to examine the current state of clinical trial data sharing and reuse and to consider ways in which policy, technology, incentives, and governance could be leveraged to further encourage and enhance data sharing. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.”