NIHR gives support to international Open Access initiative

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is supportive of the aims and goals of Plan S, to make all publicly funded, peer-reviewed research publications immediately and freely Open Access to the reader.

Spreading new knowledge and allowing that knowledge to be built upon benefits all. We, therefore, believe that the universal availability of the publications arising from the research we fund is important to achieving our vision of ‘improving the health and wealth of the nation through research’.For this reason, we have a long-standing commitment to increasing research openness and transparency. We were one of the original funders of Europe PMC and we were the world’s first health research funder to publish comprehensive accounts of its commissioned research within its own Open Access journals.

We look forward to working closely with other research funders and the wider research community to achieve the aims of Plan S. As part of this work, we will be reviewing our current Open Access policy. …”

Could This Search Engine Save Your Life? – The Chronicle of Higher Education

One of the Allen Institute’s priorities is an academically oriented search engine, established in 2015, called Semantic Scholar (slogan: “Cut through the clutter”). The need is great, with more than 34,000 peer-reviewed journals publishing 2.5 million articles a year. “What if a cure for an intractable cancer is hidden within the tedious reports on thousands of clinical studies?,” Etzioni once said.

Although Semantic Scholar has focused so far on computer and biomedical sciences, Etzioni says that the engine will soon push into the social sciences and the humanities as well. The Chronicle spoke with him about information overload, impact factors’ imperfect inevitability, and the promise and perils of AI….”

Exploring PubMed as a reliable resource for scholarly communications services | Ossom Williamson | Journal of the Medical Library Association


Objective: PubMed’s provision of MEDLINE and other National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources has made it one of the most widely accessible biomedical resources globally. The growth of PubMed Central (PMC) and public access mandates have affected PubMed’s composition. The authors tested recent claims that content in PMC is of low quality and affects PubMed’s reliability, while exploring PubMed’s role in the current scholarly communications landscape.

Methods: The percentage of MEDLINE-indexed records was assessed in PubMed and various subsets of records from PMC. Data were retrieved via the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) interface, and follow-up interviews with a PMC external reviewer and staff at NLM were conducted.

Results: Almost all PubMed content (91%) is indexed in MEDLINE; however, since the launch of PMC, the percentage of PubMed records indexed in MEDLINE has slowly decreased. This trend is the result of an increase in PMC content from journals that are not indexed in MEDLINE and not a result of author manuscripts submitted to PMC in compliance with public access policies. Author manuscripts in PMC continue to be published in MEDLINE-indexed journals at a high rate (85%). The interviewees clarified the difference between the sources, with MEDLINE serving as a highly selective index of journals in biomedical literature and PMC serving as an open archive of quality biomedical and life sciences literature and a repository of funded research.

Conclusion: The differing scopes of PMC and MEDLINE will likely continue to affect their overlap; however, quality control exists in the maintenance and facilitation of both resources, and funding from major grantors is a major component of quality assurance in PMC….”

Open access medical journals: Benefits and challenges – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  The world of medical science literature is ever increasingly accessible via the Internet. Open access online medical journals, in particular, offer access to a wide variety of useful information at no cost. In addition, they provide avenues for publishing that are available to health care providers of all levels of training and practice. Whereas costs are less with the publishing of online open access journals, fewer resources for funding and technical support also exist. A recent rise in predatory journals, which solicit authors but charge high fees per paper published and provide low oversight, pose other challenges to ensuring the credibility of accessible scientific literature. Recognizing the value and efforts of legitimate open access online medical journals can help the reader navigate the over 11,000 open access journals that are available to date.

How Shared, Open Data Can Help Us Better Overcome Disasters | WIRED

“Hopefully, interest in data about air quality and the difficulty in getting a comprehensive view will drive more people to consider an open data and approach over proprietary ones. Right now, big companies and governments are the largest users of data that we’ve handed to them—mostly for free—to lock up in their vaults. Pharmaceutical firms, for instance, use the data to develop drugs that save lives, but they could save more lives if their data were shared. We need to start using data for more than commercial exploitation, deploying it to understand the long-term effects of policy, and create transparency around those in power—not of private citizens. We need to flip the model from short-term commercial use to long-term societal benefit….”

An Open Approach to Huntington’s Disease – Rachel Harding – Project Presentation – YouTube

“Since February 2016, Dr Harding has been keeping an open lab notebook for the huntingtin structure-function project through the blog and the data repository Zenodo. By sharing data widely and more quickly than is normally done in biomedical science, Dr Harding hopes to catalyze research on this disease….”

Who is pirating medical literature? A bibliometric review of 28 million Sci-Hub downloads – The Lancet Global Health

“The use of illegal online “shadow libraries” such as Sci-Hub has also emerged as a means of accessing scientific literature.4 An analysis of requests to the site logged from September 2015 to January 2016 revealed that Sci-Hub had successfully satisfied 99·3% of queries….

We aimed to define the proportion of downloads on Sci-Hub that are medical in nature and to consider these data at the national level, evaluating the relation between density of medical literature downloads and scientific output, national income classifications, and indicators of internet penetrance….

Of 27·8 million download queries, 23·2 million were requests for journal articles. We categorised 94% of requests using Scopus terms. 4·7 million requests (22%) were for medical journal articles….

Most queries for medical literature originated in LMICs (3·3 million, 69%). Almost half (2·2 million, 47%) originated in upper-middle income countries….

Nearly 1 million articles published by medical journals are downloaded on Sci-Hub each month….”

When open access to research becomes personal – Expanded world – Medium

What did I find when I was looking for high-quality, up to date information? First off, that there isn’t much on either of these particular cancers. What there is, is mostly in fairly obscure journals, but some other papers are in much better known journals; overwhelmingly, however, the research required a subscription to read. Cost to read of just the first few articles came to well over AUD $100. And because I do use unpaywall to see if there were OA copies (there weren’t) there are no other easy or legal options for these parents. For those who’d like to say that subscription articles are usually freely available in 6–12 months, I’ll just point out that for one of these cancers the median survival is around 5 months. Oh, and there are trials for these cancers, duly registered but not reported….”

Medknow in 2018: growing fast! | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

“Medknow is a commercial scholarly journal publisher based in India, which was acquired by Wolters Kluwer in 2011. The analysis of Medknow’s journals in 2018 shows that there has been a significant increase in number oftheir journals, with 23% increase comparing to 2017. It appears that most of Medknow’s journals are published in collaboration with different universities and societies in the filed of medical research….”

Transparency and reproducibility of biomedical research is improving | EurekAlert! Science News

“This new study builds upon the authors’ previous evaluation of articles published between 2000 and 2014, which demonstrated that the biomedical literature largely lacked transparency. In their second assessment, the authors instead find that the majority of recently published articles provided information on funding and conflicts of interest, and statements related to data-sharing had become more widespread….”