“Today, we’re pleased to announce the launch of a project on the use of preprints in the media with support from the Open Society Foundations.
Premature media coverage was the top concern about preprints in our recent #biopreprints2020 survey, for both those who had published their research as preprints and for those who had not….
ASAPbio, with support from the Open Society Foundations, now aims to consolidate and expand on existing efforts to set best practice standards for preprints via the launch of our Preprints in the Public Eye project. We are calling for involvement from researchers, journalists, institutions, librarians, funding agencies, and more to work on the following three main aims or the project:
To improve the transparency and clarity of how preprints are labelled so that readers understand what checks have and have not been made on a preprint.
To agree a set of best practice guidelines for researchers and institutions on how to work with journalists on research reported as preprints.
To agree a set of best practice guidelines for journalists on how to assess and report on research posted as preprints….”
“I honestly don’t remember how it all began, though now depositing my research is second nature (and such a regular activity that I fear I burden the always-helpful library staff). I think I began with the documents that seemed to have no place but that I had worked hard on and so wanted to be able to point to on occasion.
What was great about depositing such documents was that I held copyright so they could be instantly accessible to anyone interested….
[Question:] Have you been surprised by how many downloads your research has received in LSERO? So far this year you have received over 86,000 downloads!
Astonished! What can I say? I work in a topical field (children and young people’s engagement with the internet), though I am encouraged that some of less topical work (e.g. on media audiences) also gets noticed through LSERO. I also work in a field that has fostered a constructive and lively dialogue between academics and stakeholders/publics. This leads me to another list – who do I imagine is the audience downloading on such a scale?
It might be academics in universities with nicely resourced libraries looking for a convenient source, and it might be my students (thanks guys!).
But I hope it is also academics in less well-resourced universities who wouldn’t otherwise have access to work that, once published, sits beyond a pay wall.
And I also believe (and hope) that it’s non-academics, whether policy makers or journalists or NGOs and other stakeholders who also lack access to academic journal publications and who don’t generally (like to or have budget for) purchasing academic work….”
“But let us also notice something: the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New Republic, New York, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and the London Times all have paywalls. Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, the Washington Examiner, InfoWars: free! …”
“The Conversation—a nonprofit that brings together scholars and journalists to bring academic writing to a general audience—may tell us a bit about where nonprofit media is headed.
The Conversation—which was founded by Andrew Jaspan and Jack Rejtman in Australia in 2011 with $6 million in funding from four universities, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and the State of Victoria—is thriving amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Traffic is soaring, while its funding model insulates it from the collapse in advertising and subscription revenue hitting other outlets. Its stories are available for republication, for free, under a Creative Commons license—a model that seems particularly beneficial for other news outlets at this moment. “If there were ever a time for expertise and smart journalism, now is it, and we are doing it at a volume no one else is doing and there is no paywall. It is free to use and free to publish,” says Stephen Khan, the editor of The Conversation’s UK edition. …
The Conversation’s business model varies in each region, revealing a lot about the state of nonprofit media in different parts of the world. In Australia, funding comes from reader donations and universities. In Africa and Indonesia, it relies on foundations. In the UK and France, some 145 universities have signed on as financial members, including prestigious research-intensive institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge….”
Abstract: The association between mention of scientific research in popular media (e.g., the mainstream media or social media platforms) and scientific impact (e.g., citations) has yet to be fully explored. The purpose of this study was to clarify this relationship, while accounting for some other factors that likely influence scientific impact (e.g., the reputations of the scientists conducting the research and academic journal in which the research was published). To accomplish this purpose, approximately 800 peer-reviewed articles describing original research were evaluated for scientific impact, popular media attention, and reputations of the scientists/authors and publication venue. A structural equation model was produced describing the relationship between non-scientific impact (popular media) and scientific impact (citations), while accounting for author/scientist and journal reputation. The resulting model revealed a strong association between the amount of popular media attention given to a scientific research project and corresponding publication and the number of times that publication is cited in peer-reviewed scientific literature. These results indicate that (1) peer-reviewed scientific publications receiving more attention in non-scientific media are more likely to be cited than scientific publications receiving less popular media attention, and (2) the non-scientific media is associated with the scientific agenda. These results may inform scientists who increasingly use popular media to inform the general public and scientists concerning their scientific work. These results might also inform administrators of higher education and research funding mechanisms, who base decisions partly on scientific impact.
“The early career reporter for the South China Morning Post went to Wuhan, China in early January to cover the outbreak of the then-unknown virus. Lew went in with as much precautions as were suggested at the time – a facemask, gloves, and disinfecting spray. Looking back, she says she’s lucky that she didn’t contract COVID-19. Since then, Lew has sometimes been putting in 10-12 hour days writing articles on everything from policies to politics to the impact of the global pandemic on scholarly communication.
“COVID has shined a large spotlight on the exorbitant cost of academic publishing,” Lew says. “When the virus first spread in February, it felt to me, personally—and to other members of the OpenCon community—that it was unacceptable that so much of COVID research was still behind paywalls. That kind of outdated model just boggles my mind when a pandemic is on.”
Many publishers have granted access to critical research in response to the crisis, but Lew worries that it is temporary. In her reporting, she is trying to explain the need for open science and open access to readers—many of whom are not aware of the issue. Even her editor, Lew says, was baffled when she explained how commercial publishers make high profits from tax-payer funded that is not open to the public….”
“Research on the topic shows just how powerful this tool can be. For example, the recent survey by the Open Knowledge Foundation, conducted in the UK in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, found that 97% of those polled believed that it’s important for COVID-19 data to be openly available for people to check, and 67% believed that all COVID-19 related research and data should be openly available for anyone to use freely. Similarly, a 2019 US survey conducted before the pandemic found that 57% of Americans say that they trust the outcomes of scientific studies more if the data from the studies is openly available to the public….”
“[This is the English translation of a manifesto originally published for a Francophone audience. The text has been modified slightly to make it more relevant to a global audience. The original text can be read here: https://t.co/CBVuz4Pynf?amp=1 ]
Objective: This “manifesto” is addressed, first and foremost, to fellow scientists and researchers, our peers and colleagues. Certain recent movements, such as #MarchForScience and #NoFakeScience [1, 2], both widely shared and discussed in traditional and social media, have the merit of emphasizing how much we need, not only the trust, but also the cooperation of the general public in order to face the global crises that are defining this present moment in history. However, these movements fail to mention one scientific consensus which the scientific community still cannot, in good conscience, be said to share: the credo that “knowledge belongs to humanity”. For this idea to reach consensus status, it would first be necessary for scientific knowledge to be made fully and freely accessible to one and all.
If you agree with this principle and are prepared to support it, you are invited to add your signature at the bottom of this manifesto. At this precise moment in time, as climate strike movements around the globe are hammering home the fact that we don’t have time to wait for resisters and deniers, that it’s necessary we act now, the same urgency applies to the open science movement: the time to act by reciprocating the trust which we, scientists, require of the general public, the moment to finally open science, is also now! And maybe this idea needs to be hammered home in the media too… ”
Abstract: The world continues to face an ongoing viral pandemic that presents a serious threat to human health. The virus underlying the COVID-19 disease, SARS-CoV-2, has caused over 3.2 million confirmed cases and 220,000 deaths between January and April 2020. Although the last pandemic of respiratory disease of viral origin swept the globe only a decade ago, the way science operates and responds to current events has experienced a paradigm shift in the interim. The scientific community has responded rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing over 16,000 COVID-19 related scientific articles within 4 months of the first confirmed case, of which at least 6,000 were hosted by preprint servers. We focused our analysis on bioRxiv and medRxiv, two growing preprint servers for biomedical research, investigating the attributes of COVID-19 preprints, their access and usage rates, characteristics of their sharing on online platforms, and the relationship between preprints and their published articles. Our data provides evidence for increased scientific and public engagement (COVID-19 preprints are accessed and distributed at least 15 times more than non-COVID-19 preprints) and changes in journalistic practice with reference to preprints. We also find evidence for changes in preprinting and publishing behaviour: COVID-19 preprints are shorter, with fewer panels and tables, and reviewed faster. Our results highlight the unprecedented role of preprints and preprint servers in the dissemination of COVID-19 science, and the likely long-term impact of the pandemic on the scientific publishing landscape.