[Free Webinar] Increasing transparency and trust in preprints: Steps journals can take

“What steps can academic journals take to help scholars and the general public (especially the mainstream media) more easily determine preprint quality and distinguish peer-reviewed preprints from unvetted ones?

We explored this question during Scholastica’s recent panel-style webinar, “Increasing transparency and trust in preprints: Steps journals can take“ as part of Peer Review Week 2020, themed “Trust in Peer Review.” …”

GeoLog | How Open Science may help us during and after the pandemic – GeoLog

“We are three Earth Scientists who advocate for Open Science and our collaboration strengthened during the pandemic. In this difficult time, the benefits of Open Science and specifically open access to journal articles and the use of preprints were revealed to academia and the general public. These trends are encouraging and bode well for their greater use and development in a changing world. At this time, all researchers should have a sense of togetherness or Ubuntu, an African philosophy which is often translated as “I am, because we are”. The principles of Open Science uphold human rights and Ubuntu that enable researchers to interact and solve common problems. These same principles endorse transparency and collaboration, and, therefore, may have an important role so that researchers can remain productive during and after this pandemic.”

Not One but Many Models of Open-Access Publishing – Association for Psychological Science – APS

“The OA movement has proliferated in numerous directions over the last two decades, and a color-naming system has evolved in an attempt to simplify this diversity. PsyArXiv is classified in this system as “green” OA because it is a repository for authors who seek to freely share their scholarly output with both consumers (readers) and producers of research (Samberg et al., 2018). The niches that Kitayama has described—serving “cutting-edge” and “nontraditional” research projects—are both examples of “gold” OA. These outlets are peer-reviewed journals that publish open articles and make use of article processing charges (APCs). This approach differs substantially from traditional publishing models where peer-reviewed articles are published without expense for the authors, but at substantial expense to libraries; further, articles are locked away behind a “paywall.” Many readers of the APS Observer are likely familiar with hybrid approaches as well (sometimes called “paid open access”). This model gives authorship teams the choice, after peer review, to pay APCs to add OA publishing to their accepted paper, or they can choose to publish without expense by effectively signing away the licensing rights to their article. Many additional variations exist, each with its own color-name (see Barnes, 2020, and Samberg et al., 2018)….

At the most fundamental level, PsyArXiv complements all forms of publishing by equitably providing psychological researchers with a free, simple, and immediate outlet that can be accessed by anyone with reliable Internet service. This gives early access to timely research findings, provides an alternative access option for works that are not published openly, increases discoverability (Norris et al., 2008; Lewis, 2018), and reduces the file-drawer problem (Franco et al., 2014). Beyond this, the PsyArXiv infrastructure allows for further innovation in psychology publishing that can build on the benefits of OA. These might include overlay journals, which have gained considerable attention in other scientific disciplines recently and provide peer-review and/or editorial curation of content posted on arXiv (for examples, see Discrete Analysis and The Open Journal of Astrophysics). Models like these offer the potential for niche journals to flourish in a manner that would not be viable within the traditional publishing ecosystem. In short, we hope that researchers, including submitters to APS journals, will take advantage of APS’s generous article-posting policies and make copies of their pre- and post-publication work available for the community at PsyArXiv, thereby helping the community capitalize on these many benefits.”

Full article: Pharmaceutical industry-authored preprints: scientific and social media impact


Aim: Non–peer-reviewed manuscripts posted as preprints can be cited in peer-reviewed articles which has both merits and demerits. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidelines mandate authors to declare preprints at the time of manuscript submission. We evaluated the trends in pharma-authored research published as preprints and their scientific and social media impact by analyzing citation rates and altmetrics.

Research design and methods: We searched EuroPMC, PrePubMed bioRxiv and MedRxiv for preprints submitted by authors affiliated with the top 50 pharmaceutical companies from inception till June 15, 2020. Data were extracted and analyzed from the search results. The number of citations for the preprint and peer-reviewed versions (if available) were compiled using the Publish or Perish software (version 1.7). Altmetric score was calculated using the “Altmetric it” online tool. Statistical significance was analyzed by Wilcoxon rank-sum test.

Results: A total of 498 preprints were identified across bioRxiv (83%), PeerJ (5%), F1000Research (6%), Nature Proceedings (3%), Preprint.org (3%), Wellcome Open Research preprint (0.2%) and MedRxiv (0.2%) servers. Roche, Sanofi and Novartis contributed 56% of the retrieved preprints. The median number of citations for the included preprints was 0 (IQR =1, Min-Max =0-45). The median number of citations for the published preprints and unpublished preprints was 0 for both (IQR =1, Min-Max =0-25 and IQR =1, Min-Max =0-45, respectively; P?=?.091). The median Altmetric score of the preprints was 4 (IQR =10.5, Min-Max =0-160).

Conclusion: Pharma-authored research is being increasingly published as preprints and is also being cited in other peer-reviewed publications and discussed in social media.

Credibility of preprints: an interdisciplinary survey of researchers | Royal Society Open Science

Abstract:  Preprints increase accessibility and can speed scholarly communication if researchers view them as credible enough to read and use. Preprint services do not provide the heuristic cues of a journal’s reputation, selection, and peer-review processes that, regardless of their flaws, are often used as a guide for deciding what to read. We conducted a survey of 3759 researchers across a wide range of disciplines to determine the importance of different cues for assessing the credibility of individual preprints and preprint services. We found that cues related to information about open science content and independent verification of author claims were rated as highly important for judging preprint credibility, and peer views and author information were rated as less important. As of early 2020, very few preprint services display any of the most important cues. By adding such cues, services may be able to help researchers better assess the credibility of preprints, enabling scholars to more confidently use preprints, thereby accelerating scientific communication and discovery.



A Lesson of the Pandemic: All Prints Should Be Preprints

“As of this week, roughly 10,000 preprints about the novel coronavirus were available on the preprint servers bioRxiv and medRxiv alone, a remarkable feat given that this virus has existed for less than a year. Collectively, these preprints have put vital research information into circulation much faster than would have been possible under the traditional academic publishing model, in which emerging knowledge is sequestered until it clears peer review. Although peer review has long been held up as the gold standard of academic publication, the flowering of preprints during the pandemic gives the lie to the fiction that pre-publication peer review is essential to ensuring scholarly rigor. In a fast-moving era of digital information, preprints should become the new normal….

Moreover, the pandemic has inspired the emergence of several third-party services that review or curate published preprints. PreLights, a preprint review site supported by the not-for-profit publisher The Company of Biologists, maintains a running timeline of what they deem to be “landmark” preprints about the biology and transmission of the novel coronavirus. Each entry gives a brief description of why the preprint is important, along with a direct link to the paper. As of this writing, they have highlighted approximately 125 preprints, providing a useful filtration system for the thousands of preprints that have been published about the coronavirus….”

Prepare your paper for submission to Open Research Europe (ORE)

“Over the last 6 months we have been busy building the platform which will welcome submissions from Horizon 2020 grantees in all disciplines, during and after the end of Horizon 2020 grants. The European Commission will be covering the APCs and so it will be completely cost-free for you to publish your research on the platform. 

ORE is on track for its official launch in March 2021 with peer-reviewed publications in all scientific fields. From now until then, there will be more frequent announcements from us about the platform, starting with:…

We are actively seeking submissions ahead of the formal launch in early 2021. These submissions will be published as preprints and will have been peer-reviewed by the time the platform launches. They will thus be part of the group of the first Horizon 2020 peer-reviewed publications to appear in Open Research Europe. If you are an Horizon 2020 grant recipient, please extend this message to all researchers who are contributing to your Horizon 2020 project. The submission system for the platform will open at the end of November 2020. …”

NISO Voting Members Approve Work to Update Journal Article Versions (JAV)

“The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced today that their Voting Members have approved a new work item to update the 2008 Recommended Practice, NISO RP-8-2008, Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group. A NISO Working Group is being set up, and work is expected to begin in early 2021. 

Publication practices have changed rapidly since the publication of the original recommendations. For example, preprints have become much more important as a publication type in many disciplines, and publishers are increasingly experimenting with new ways to publish, update, and keep research alive. All of these versions of an article are important and citable, making the concept of a single ‘version of record’ less relevant. These additional processes to support public availability make the consistent assignment of DOIs to one or more versions challenging. 

The NISO JAV working group will define a set of terms for each of the different versions of content that are published, as well as a recommendation for whether separate DOIs should be assigned to them. They will address questions such as: Should there be a single DOI for an article, regardless of version? Different DOIs for each version? How are the identifiers connected and used? How do we define a version? As with all NISO output, the group’s draft recommendations will be shared for public comment before publication….”