Evolving our support for early sharing | Nature Communications

“Nature Communications encouraged rapid dissemination of results with the launch of Under Consideration in 2017. Today we take one more step by offering an integrated preprint deposition service to our authors as part of the submission process….

From today, our authors have the option to take advantage of In Review, a free preprint deposition service integrated with the submission process to our journal. The preprint of the author’s original submission will be posted (with a permanent DOI, under a CC-BY licence) on the multidisciplinary platform hosted by our partner Research Square at the same time as the submission is being considered by our editorial team….”

How the coronavirus pandemic could change the way we do research

“Launched in March 2020, the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), is a resource of over 29,000 scholarly articles, including over 13,000 with full text, from peer-reviewed journals as well as repositories like bioRxiv and medRxiv. The research covers SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, and the coronavirus group. The CORD-19 dataset represents the most extensive machine-readable coronavirus literature collection available for data mining to date. Updated in real time as more research is released, the approach helps facing the rapid acceleration in new coronavirus literature, making it easier for the medical research community to keep up.

This freely available dataset is an initiative from US state and private actors such as Microsoft which “used its literature curation algorithms to find relevant articles and research”, while “nonprofit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) converted them from web pages and PDFs into a structured format that can be processed by algorithms”. The database is provided to the global research community to apply recent advances in natural language processing and other AI techniques to generate new insights. Stemming from this is the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge, a call to action to the world’s artificial intelligence experts to develop text and data mining tools that can help the medical community develop answers to high priority scientific questions.

Earlier on, in February 2020, the research-charity Wellcome Trust, called for researchers, journals, scientific societies and funders around the world to ensure the rapid sharing of research data and findings relevant to the coronavirus. In the signed statement, they commit to: …”

More Springer Nature authors to benefit from support for early sharing with further roll out of In Review | Corporate Affairs Homepage | Springer Nature

“In Review, the innovative service which integrates early sharing and increased transparency in peer review with the journal submission and peer review process, is being made available for the first time to authors submitting primary research to Nature Research titles.  From today authors submitting to two Nature Research titles,  Nature Communications and Nature Biomedical Engineering, will be able to utilise In Review to realise the benefits of early sharing.  …”

Critical Lessons From Last Week’s Retraction of Two COVID-19 Papers | MedPage Today

“According to an investigative report in The Guardian, Sapan Desai had been previously linked to highly ambitious (and dubious) claims. In 2008, he promoted a “next generation human augmentation device” called Neurodynamics Flow, which he said “can help you achieve what you never thought was possible,” claiming that “with its sophisticated programming, optimal neural induction points, and tried and true results, Neurodynamics Flow allows you to rise to the peak of human evolution.”

It is important to realize that concerns about the existence and validity of the Surgisphere databases surfaced only after the paper on hydroxychloroquine was published. The earlier NEJM paper on inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system was never criticized, even though Surgisphere was the primary data and analytical source.

Why? The NEJM paper included data from 8,910 patients treated at 169 hospitals across three continents (Asia, Europe and North America), a database that may have seemed credible — even though Surgisphere had no track record of publications. In contrast, the Lancet paper cited data from 96,032 patients treated at 671 hospitals from six continents. It seems that the decision by the authors to include data from Australia and Africa represented a fatal strategic error, since these could be far more easily matched up with public records. When the data from these two regions failed to make sense, the paper unraveled. Conceivably, if the authors had not overreached and if they had merely confined their analysis to three continents, it is likely that the Lancet paper would have survived….

The possibility that fraudulent data would have been accepted — if it had not been for the excessive ambitions of the authors — is distressing beyond words. The implications for medical research are profound….

Many have criticized preprint servers because they allow the dissemination of data and information that has not been peer-reviewed. But can we continue to denigrate papers lacking peer review if the process failed us at this critical time? Some might still argue that peer review was highly effective in the two COVID-19 retractions; it simply occurred following (rather than prior to) publication. However, even the staunchest advocates of journals as gatekeepers must concede that the post-publication examination and analysis can occur whether the information is presented in a top-tier journal or on a preprint server….”

Being published successfully or getting arXived? The importance of social capital and interdisciplinary collaboration for getting printed in a high impact journal in Physics

Abstract:  The structure of collaboration is known to be of great importance for the success of scientific endeavors. In particular, various types of social capital employed in co-authored work and projects bridging disciplinary boundaries have attracted researchers’ interest. Almost all previous studies, however, use samples with an inherent survivor bias, i.e., they focus on papers that have already been published. In contrast, our article examines the chances for getting a working paper published by using a unique dataset of 245,000 papers uploaded to arXiv. ArXiv is a popular preprint platform in Physics which allows us to construct a co-authorship network from which we can derive different types of social capital and interdisciplinary teamwork. To emphasize the ‘normal case’ of community-specific standards of excellence, we assess publications in Physics’ high impact journals as success. Utilizing multilevel event history models, our results reveal that already a moderate number of persistent collaborations spanning at least two years is the most important social antecedent of getting a manuscript published successfully. In contrast, inter- and subdisciplinary collaborations decrease the probability of publishing in an eminent journal in Physics, which can only partially be mitigated by scientists’ social capital.

 

Preprint Journal Club: In partnership with PREreview | Events | eLife

“eLife is pleased to be running a monthly preprint journal club with PREreview, a platform for the crowdsourcing of preprint reviews.

Each month the eLife editorial team will select a preprint for discussion which is currently under review at eLife. The live streamed journal club will then discuss the preprint, providing constructive feedback. These comments will be aggregated, shared as a PREreview and also incorporated into the review comments the authors receive as part of their review at eLife….”

The NIH Preprint Pilot: A New Experiment for a New Era – NLM Musings from the Mezzanine

“Recognizing the growing interest in preprints, NLM is today launching the first phase of the NIH Preprint Pilot, which will test the viability of making preprints searchable in PubMed Central (PMC) and, by extension, discoverable in PubMed, starting with COVID-19 preprints reporting NIH-supported research.

To be clear, NLM is not building a preprint server for NIH investigators, nor are we developing a comprehensive preprint discovery resource. Rather, through this pilot, we plan to add a curated collection of preprints from eligible preprint servers to our established literature resources. In doing so, our goal is to improve scholarly communications by accelerating and expanding the findability of NIH research results.

With the encouragement of NIH leadership, NLM has been exploring ways to leverage its literature databases to help accelerate the discoverability and maximize the impact of NIH-supported research via preprints. The planned pilot builds on guidance released by NIH in March 2017, which encouraged NIH investigators to use preprints and other interim research products to speed the dissemination of research and enhance the rigor of their work through public comments and new scientific collaborations….”

Fast pace of scientific publishing on COVID comes with problems

“The pace of scientific publishing has accelerated dramatically in response to the COVID pandemic. Journals have sped up time from submission to publication, and scientists have uploaded thousands of papers to open-access preprint servers without first going through the normal peer-review process. As the volume and speed of scientific publishing has increased, it’s perhaps inevitable that mistakes will slip through — mistakes that can have serious stakes and consequential outcomes in the context of a highly politicized pandemic….”

Against pandemic research exceptionalism | Science

“The global outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has seen a deluge of clinical studies, with hundreds registered on clinicaltrials.gov. But a palpable sense of urgency and a lingering concern that “in critical situations, large randomized controlled trials are not always feasible or ethical” (1) perpetuate the perception that, when it comes to the rigors of science, crisis situations demand exceptions to high standards for quality. Early phase studies have been launched before completion of investigations that would normally be required to warrant further development of the intervention (2), and treatment trials have used research strategies that are easy to implement but unlikely to yield unbiased effect estimates. Numerous trials investigating similar hypotheses risk duplication of effort, and droves of research papers have been rushed to preprint servers, essentially outsourcing peer review to practicing physicians and journalists. Although crises present major logistical and practical challenges, the moral mission of research remains the same: to reduce uncertainty and enable caregivers, health systems, and policy-makers to better address individual and public health. Rather than generating permission to carry out low-quality investigations, the urgency and scarcity of pandemics heighten the responsibility of key actors in the research enterprise to coordinate their activities to uphold the standards necessary to advance this mission….”

Open Access lessons during Covid-19: No lockdown for research results! | Plan S

“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it, and research is no exception. Globally, scientists are working together at unprecedented speed, in a race against time to understand the virus and its treatment, sharing data and results as fast as they can. Journal editors are cooperating and becoming more flexible. Embargoes are lifted, paywalls abolished and preprint servers like MedrXiv and bioRxiv have accelerated research evaluation and discussion. Suddenly the demand for instant access to the relevant research literature has become self-evident. How could the argument for full and immediate Open Access still be ignored?…”