Guest Post – The Covid Infodemic and the Future of the Communication of Science – The Scholarly Kitchen

“The world has gotten pretty opinionated about how scientific communication should be designed, and most of what has been published has fallen into one of two camps:

Camp A) The Covid crisis has torn down the walls of science and cranked the speed dial to 12. Instead of traditional journal publishing which takes months, preprints are exploding, “a global collaboration unlike any in history” is happening in real-time, and an old system is finally getting the overhaul it needed!
Camp B) We are seeing the first true social “infodemic.” Misinformation is everywhere, most of what is out there “isn’t even science,” and governments are cracking down on social media platforms and scientific publishers to dramatically limit the content that makes it online.

Both of these camps are at least partially correct, but few articles address the fact that speed and uncertainty in science are often two sides of the same coin, and getting the benefit of speed without the risk of uncertainty is extremely challenging….

Many of the old systems that have slowed down the pace of science in order to establish relevancy and truth-seeking as it builds from observation to intervention shouldn’t be thrown away in the move towards speed, but rather built into and strengthened via new technologies.”

Open Access Journal Publishing 2020-2024 : Market Research Report

“In today’s global market, it’s more important than ever to understand the changing dynamics of scholarly and professional publishing. Rely on Simba Information’s Open Access Journal Publishing 2020-2024 to build your growth plan for this year and beyond.

This report explains the origins of the open access movement, gives a timeline for its development, but most importantly, Simba Information quantifies open access’ position as a fast growing subsegment of scholarly journal publishing. Simba used the information it gathered through primary and secondary research to develop a financial outlook for open access journal publishing including leading competitors’ performance through 2020 and market projections through 2024. This research was conducted in conjunction with a larger study of the overall market for scholarly and professional publishing.

Open Access Journal Publishing 2020-2024 contains separate chapters covering the market, key competitors, and issues and forecast that include:

Simba’s exclusive analysis of market size and structure
Revenue and market share rankings of 10 leading global publishers
Title and article growth metrics
A breakdown of players in the open access ecosystem including public and private research funders.
A breakdown open access publishing in key geographic regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of World
Analysis of mergers and acquisitions
Simba’s exclusive market projections to 2024 and more….”

Rapid sharing of COVID-19 research · Commonplace

“Preprints, open peer review, and the rapid sharing of interim research findings have the potential to accelerate the process of scientific discovery. In research on SARS-CoV-2, speed is paramount, and researchers are using these new tools as never before.

In the following conversation, held on March 31 among Richard Wilder (General Counsel and Director of Business Development at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), Dave O’Connor (The UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of Wisconsin), Richard Sever (Co-Founder of bioRxiv and medRxiv, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) and Daniela Saderi (Co-Founder and Director of PREreview and Outbreak Science), we examine the use of preprints, rapid peer review, and informal channels to hasten communication of SARS-CoV-2 research. …”

New MIT Press Journal to Debunk Bad COVID-19 Research

“Preprint servers play an increasingly important role in the scholarly publishing landscape. They are a popular platform for researchers to get early feedback on their research. They are also a space where researchers can publish research products and data sets not typically published in traditional journals. The process is fast — publication of open-access research that anyone can read is immediate.

The downside of this open publication system is that sometimes controversial or poor-quality research can garner a lot of attention on social media or in news articles, said Stefano Bertozzi, professor of health policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. In the clamor for information about COVID-19, it is easy for misinformation to spread online, he said.

To combat this, MIT Press and the Berkeley School of Public Health are launching a new COVID-19 journal, one that will peer review preprint articles getting a lot of attention — elevating the good research and debunking the bad.

The Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 journal will be led by Bertozzi, who will serve as the first editor in chief. Unlike a traditional journal, authors will not submit their work for review. Instead, the Rapid Reviews team will select and review already-published preprint articles — a publishing model known as an overlay journal.   …”

Rapid publications risk the integrity of science in the era of COVID-19 | BMC Medicine | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Preprint manuscripts, rapid publications and opinion pieces have been essential in permitting the lay press and public health authorities to preview data relating to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the range of clinical manifestations and the basic epidemiology early on in the pandemic. However, the rapid dissemination of information has highlighted some issues with communication of scientific results and opinions in this time of heightened sensitivity and global concern.

Main text

Rapid publication of COVID-19 literature through expedited review, preprint publications and opinion pieces are important resources for the medical scientific community. Yet the risks of unverified information loom large in times when the healthcare community is desperate for information. Information that has not been properly vetted, or opinion pieces without solid evidence, may be used to influence public health policy decisions. We discuss three examples of unverified information and the consequences in this time of high anxiety surrounding COVID-19.

Conclusions

In an era when information can be widely and swiftly disseminated, it is important to ensure that the scientific community is not an inadvertent source of misinformation. This will require a multimodal approach, with buy-in from editors, publishers, preprint servers, authors and journalists. The landscape of medical publications has changed, and a collaborative approach is required to maintain a high standard of scientific communications.

Rapid publications risk the integrity of science in the era of COVID-19 | BMC Medicine | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Preprint manuscripts, rapid publications and opinion pieces have been essential in permitting the lay press and public health authorities to preview data relating to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including the range of clinical manifestations and the basic epidemiology early on in the pandemic. However, the rapid dissemination of information has highlighted some issues with communication of scientific results and opinions in this time of heightened sensitivity and global concern.

Main text

Rapid publication of COVID-19 literature through expedited review, preprint publications and opinion pieces are important resources for the medical scientific community. Yet the risks of unverified information loom large in times when the healthcare community is desperate for information. Information that has not been properly vetted, or opinion pieces without solid evidence, may be used to influence public health policy decisions. We discuss three examples of unverified information and the consequences in this time of high anxiety surrounding COVID-19.

Conclusions

In an era when information can be widely and swiftly disseminated, it is important to ensure that the scientific community is not an inadvertent source of misinformation. This will require a multimodal approach, with buy-in from editors, publishers, preprint servers, authors and journalists. The landscape of medical publications has changed, and a collaborative approach is required to maintain a high standard of scientific communications.

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: …”

We have no time to waste in the transition to Open Access

“I understand why you say that, but I don’t think that is necessarily the case. cOAlition S has been faulted for focusing primarily on an accelerated transition towards Open Access by legacy publishers and existing journals. But let us not forget that these existing journals are where the grantholders of the cOAlition S funders want to publish. One the one hand, we ask of our researchers that they keep copyright and publish in CC-By. But in return we feel that we have to make sure that they can keep publishing in the journals that they know and love. So that means we decided to focus on creating incentives for the transformation of these journals into Open Access journals, steering them away from the hybrid impasse….

Publishers who wish to stick with subscription journals will have to give their authors the right to keep copyright and to publish in CC-BY, and additionally allow them to immediately deposit a copy of the AAM or the VoR in a Green repository. Note that publishers such as Sage and Emerald already allow authors to deposit their articles in a repository without embargo…..”

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.  …”