Case study: Disseminating early research findings to influence decision-makers | UCL Open@UCL Blog

“Recently a researcher asked for our advice on the best way to disseminate her preliminary findings from a cross-disciplinary research project on COVID-19. She wanted to ensure policy makers in East Africa had immediate access to the findings so that they could make informed decisions. The researcher was aware that traditional models of publishing were not appropriate, not simply because of the length of time it generally takes for an article to be peer-reviewed and published, but because the findings would, most likely, be inaccessible to her intended audience in a subscription-based journal.

The Research Support and Open Access team advised the researcher to take a two-pronged approach which would require her to: (1) upload the working paper with the preliminary findings in a subject-specific open-access preprint service; and (2) to publicise the research findings in an online platform that is both credible and open access. We suggested she use SocArXiv and publish a summary of her findings in The Conversation Africa, which has a special section on COVID-19. The Conversation has several country-specific editions for Australia, Canada English, Canada French, France, Global Perspectives, Indonesia, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States, and is a useful vehicle to get academic research read by decision makers and the members of the public. We also suggested that the researcher publicise the research on the IOE London Blog….”

Author queries via email text elicited high response and took less reviewer time than data forms – a randomised study within a review – Journal of Clinical Epidemiology

Abstract:  Objective

To compare two strategies for requesting additional information for systematic reviews (SR) from study authors.

Study design and setting

Randomised study within a SR of hospital volume-outcome relationships in total knee arthroplasty. We sent personalised email requests for additional information to study authors as either email text (‘Email’ group) or attachment with self-developed, personalised data request forms (‘Attachment’ group). The primary outcome was the response rate, the secondary outcomes were the data completeness rate and the reviewer time invested in author contact.


Of 57 study authors, 29 were randomised to the Email group and 28 to the Attachment group. The response rate was 93% for Email and 75% for Attachment (odds ratio 4.5, 95% confidence interval [0.9–24.0]). Complete data were provided by 55% (Email) versus 36% (Attachment) of authors (odds ratio 2.2 [0.8–6.4]). The mean reviewer time was shorter in the Email (mean ± standard deviation of 20.2±14.4 minutes/author) than the Attachment group (31.8±14.4 minutes/author) with a mean difference of 11.6 [4.1–19.1] minutes/author.


Personalised email requests elicited high response but only moderate data completeness rates regardless of the method (email text or attachment). Email requests as text took less reviewer time than creating attachments.

Is preprint the future of science? A thirty year journey of online preprint services

Abstract:  Preprint is a version of a scientific paper that is publicly distributed preceding formal peer review. Since the launch of arXiv in 1991, preprints have been increasingly distributed over the Internet as opposed to paper copies. It allows open online access to disseminate the original research within a few days, often at a very low operating cost. This work overviews how preprint has been evolving and impacting the research community over the past thirty years alongside the growth of the Web. In this work, we first report that the number of preprints has exponentially increased 63 times in 30 years, although it only accounts for 4% of research articles. Second, we quantify the benefits that preprints bring to authors: preprints reach an audience 14 months earlier on average and associate with five times more citations compared with a non-preprint counterpart. Last, to address the quality concern of preprints, we discover that 41% of preprints are ultimately published at a peer-reviewed destination, and the published venues are as influential as papers without a preprint version. Additionally, we discuss the unprecedented role of preprints in communicating the latest research data during recent public health emergencies. In conclusion, we provide quantitative evidence to unveil the positive impact of preprints on individual researchers and the community. Preprints make scholarly communication more efficient by disseminating scientific discoveries more rapidly and widely with the aid of Web technologies. The measurements we present in this study can help researchers and policymakers make informed decisions about how to effectively use and responsibly embrace a preprint culture.


Version of Record | Open research | Springer Nature

“To what extent does article version matter to researchers? Does the version of record (VOR) offer significantly more value to them, to the extent that it would impact the way a researcher might discover, read or share a research output?

Exploring researcher preference for the version of record is a new white paper by Springer Nature in collaboration with ResearchGate, exploring researcher preference for the VOR, compared to other article versions such as the accepted manuscript (AM) or preprints.

The white paper provides evidence of the value of the VOR and immediate gold open access (OA), bringing together both analysis of VOR usage, and feedback from readers and authors via an online questionnaire….”

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From Google’s English:  “By Order of the Minister of Education and Science, a National Plan for the Development of the Open Science Initiative in the Republic of Bulgaria has been approved. The plan sets out the strategic goals, the necessary steps and tools for the transition to the transformation of open science into a standard practice for conducting research.

This plan should be promoted and implemented in a coordinated and joint manner by the scientific community in the country and by the organizations funding research. It will upgrade the Bulgarian portal for open science – , will create new institutional repositories for data and publications and will ensure the connection of Bulgarian resources with the European cloud for open science. The implementation of the National Plan will also provide conditions for increasing the scientometric indicators, citations and visibility of Bulgarian scientists.

The main goal of the Open Science Initiative is to provide researchers and the public in the Republic of Bulgaria with access to scientific publications reviewed by independent experts, reliable research data and results in an open and non-discriminatory manner at the earliest possible stage of dissemination, as well as to provide an opportunity for their use and reuse.

The expected benefits are transparency and accountability of public funding for research; increase innovation capacity by combining their own knowledge with the available scientific results of publicly funded research.

You can view and download the National Plan for Development of the Open Science Initiative in the Republic of Bulgaria here: …”

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Scientific Publishing – Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

“The move toward increased open access publishing accelerated as well, with many academic journals (including JAMDA) making all COVID-19–related papers freely available online.

 These changes in publishing, plus the continued growth of online journals (many of which are not indexed), combined with the boom in coronavirus-related research, resulted in an overall increase of published papers….”

COVID?19 and the generation of novel scientific knowledge: Evidence?based decisions and data sharing – Perillat – – Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Rationale, aims and objectives

The COVID?19 pandemic has impacted every facet of society, including medical research. This paper is the second part of a series of articles that explore the intricate relationship between the different challenges that have hindered biomedical research and the generation of novel scientific knowledge during the COVID?19 pandemic. In the first part of this series, we demonstrated that, in the context of COVID?19, the scientific community has been faced with numerous challenges with respect to (1) finding and prioritizing relevant research questions and (2) choosing study designs that are appropriate for a time of emergency.


During the early stages of the pandemic, research conducted on hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) sparked several heated debates with respect to the scientific methods used and the quality of knowledge generated. Research on HCQ is used as a case study in both papers. The authors explored biomedical databases, peer?reviewed journals, pre?print servers and media articles to identify relevant literature on HCQ and COVID?19, and examined philosophical perspectives on medical research in the context of this pandemic and previous global health challenges.


This second paper demonstrates that a lack of research prioritization and methodological rigour resulted in the generation of fleeting and inconsistent evidence that complicated the development of public health guidelines. The reporting of scientific findings to the scientific community and general public highlighted the difficulty of finding a balance between accuracy and speed.


The COVID?19 pandemic presented challenges in terms of (3) evaluating evidence for the purpose of making evidence?based decisions and (4) sharing scientific findings with the rest of the scientific community. This second paper demonstrates that the four challenges outlined in the first and second papers have often compounded each other and have contributed to slowing down the creation of novel scientific knowledge during the COVID?19 pandemic.


Abstract:  The Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITcon), was founded in 1996, using the new innovative open access business model enabled by the World wide web. A quarter century later Open Access (OA) journals have established themselves in all fields of science, in particular in biomedicine, so that around a fifth of all high quality peer reviewed articles are currently published in OA journals. In building and construction there are half a dozen active full OA journals, although ITcon remains the only one dedicated specifically to construction IT research. The development of OA has been slower than anticipated in the early years. An analysis using Michael Porter’s five forces model of the competitive environment of scholarly publishing helps to highlight the reasons for this. Particularly important as a barrier to change is the strong emphasis in academic evaluations on impact factors, which favors old established journals. Despite such hurdles OA continuously grows in importance and pioneering journals like ITcon have helped to pave the way.

Wellcome Open Research: a summary of year 4 | Wellcome Open Research Blog

“In 2020 the Wellcome Open Research (WOR) publishing platform reached a significant milestone when it became the single most used venue for Wellcome-funded researchers to share their research findings.   

In this blog post, Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research, Wellcome, and Michael Markie, Publishing Director, F1000, provide an analysis of publishing activity on the WOR platform and preview some of the initiatives we have planned for 2021….

Speed of publication remains one of the platform’s unique selling points. Table 3, below, shows that most articles are published within 26 days of being submitted and receive the first peer review report some 21 days later. Once an article has received two “approved” statuses from reviewers (or one “approved” and two “approved with reservation” statuses) articles are submitted for indexing in PubMed, Scopus and other bibliographic databases….”

INSDC Statement on SARS-CoV-2 sequence data sharing during COVID-19

“The global COVID-19 crisis has brought an urgent need for the rapid open sharing of data relating to the outbreak. Most importantly, access to sequence data from the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome is essential for our understanding of the biology and spread of COVID-19. To aid in that effort, all three INSDC members have prioritized processing of SARS-CoV-2 sequence data and have streamlined the submission process….”