Coronavirus Research Moves Faster than Medical Journals

“Many of the coronavirus-related papers being posted on MedRxiv are rushed and flawed, and some are terrible. But a lot report serious research findings, some of which will eventually find their way into prestigious journals, which have been softening their stance on previously released research. (“We encourage posting to preprint servers as a way to share information immediately,” emails Jennifer Zeis, director of communications at the New England Journal of Medicine.) In the meantime, the research is out there, being commented on and followed up on by other scientists, and reported on in the news media. The journals, which normally keep their content behind steep paywalls, are also offering coronavirus articles outside of it. New efforts to sort through the resulting bounty of available research are emerging, from a group of Johns Hopkins University scholars sifting manually through new Covid-19 papers to a 59,000-article machine-readable data set, requested by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and enabled by an assortment of tech corporations and academic and philanthropic organizations, that is meant to be mined for insights using artificial intelligence and other such means.

This is the future for scientific communication that has been predicted since the spread of the internet began to enable it in the early 1990s (and to some extent long before then), yet proved slow and fitful in its arrival. It involves more or less open access to scientific research and data, and a more-open review process with a much wider range of potential peers than the peer review offered by journals. For its most enthusiastic boosters, it is also an opportunity to break through disciplinary barriers, broaden and improve the standards for research success and generally just make science work better. To skeptics, it means abandoning high standards and a viable economic model for research publishing in favor of a chaotic, uncertain new approach.

I’m mostly on the side of the boosters here, but have learned during five years of writing on and off about academic publishing that the existing way of doing things is quite well entrenched, and that would-be innovators often misunderstand the challenges involved in displacing or replacing it….”

Directory of preprint server policies and practices – ASAPbio

“Given the growth of preprint servers and alternative platforms, it is increasingly important to describe their disciplinary scope and compare and contrast policies including governance, licensing, archiving strategies and the nature of any screening checks. These practices are important to both researchers and policymakers.

Here we present searchable information about preprint platforms relevant to life sciences, biomedical, and clinical research….”

A systematic examination of preprint platforms for use in the medical and biomedical sciences setting | bioRxiv

Abstract:  Objectives: The objective of this review is to identify all preprint platforms with biomedical and medical scope and to compare and contrast the key characteristics and policies of these platforms. We also aim to provide a searchable database to enable relevant stakeholders to compare between platforms. Study Design and Setting: Preprint platforms that were launched up to 25th June 2019 and have a biomedical and medical scope according to MEDLINE’s journal selection criteria were identified using existing lists, web-based searches and the expertise of both academic and non-academic publication scientists. A data extraction form was developed, pilot-tested and used to collect data from each preprint platform’s webpage(s). Data collected were in relation to scope and ownership; content-specific characteristics and information relating to submission, journal transfer options, and external discoverability; screening, moderation, and permanence of content; usage metrics and metadata. Where possible, all online data were verified by the platform owner or representative by correspondence. Results: A total of 44 preprint platforms were identified as having biomedical and medical scope, 17 (39%) were hosted by the Open Science Framework preprint infrastructure, six (14%) were provided by F1000 Research Ltd (the Open Research Central infrastructure) and 21 (48%) were other independent preprint platforms. Preprint platforms were either owned by non-profit academic groups, scientific societies or funding organisations (n=28; 64%), owned/partly owned by for-profit publishers or companies (n=14; 32%) or owned by individuals/small communities (n=2; 5%). Twenty-four (55%) preprint platforms accepted content from all scientific fields although some of these had restrictions relating to funding source, geographical region or an affiliated journal’s remit. Thirty-three (75%) preprint platforms provided details about article screening (basic checks) and 14 (32%) of these actively involved researchers with context expertise in the screening process. The three most common screening checks related to the scope of the article, plagiarism and legal/ethical/societal issues and compliance. Almost all preprint platforms allow submission to any peer-reviewed journal following publication, have a preservation plan for read-access, and most have a policy regarding reasons for retraction and the sustainability of the service. Forty-one (93%) platforms currently have usage metrics, with the most common metric being the number of downloads presented on the abstract page. Conclusion: A large number of preprint platforms exist for use in biomedical and medical sciences, all of which offer researchers an opportunity to rapidly disseminate their research findings onto an open-access public server, subject to scope and eligibility. However, the process by which content is screened before online posting and withdrawn or removed after posting varies between platforms, which may be associated with platform operation, ownership, governance and financing.

 

Preprint servers: a ‘rush to publish’ or ‘just in time delivery’ for science? | Thorax

“At Thorax [a journal from BMJ] we embrace this new pathway to publishing medical research findings and we welcome the submission of manuscripts which have previously appeared on a preprint server. We do, however, ask all submitting authors to make this clear in the covering letter at the time of submission. The first batch of 10 articles, which previously appeared as preprints, have been through peer review with Thorax. The acceptance of articles which have previously appeared as a preprint is now widespread among medical journals.5 6 Acceptance of preprints is, however, not universal and authors are well advised to check the guidelines of their target journals before they post a preprint….

In due course, when the COVID-19 curve (flattened or otherwise) hits baseline, researchers and journals must use the preprint literature wisely and as it is intended—as a way to share research data rapidly before formal expert review in a journal. Any individual claims should be treated with healthy scepticism, until verified by peer review. …”

An XML Repository of All bioRxiv Articles is Now Available for Text and Data Mining

“bioRxiv and medRxiv provide free and unrestricted access to all articles posted on their servers. We believe this should apply not only to human readers but also to machine analysis of the content. A growing variety of resources have been created to facilitate this access.

bioRxiv and medRxiv metadata are made available via a number of dedicated RSS feeds and APIs. Simplified summary statistics covering the content and usage are also available. For bioRxiv, this information is available here’

Bulk access to the full text of bioRxiv articles for the purposes of text and data mining (TDM) is available via a dedicated Amazon S3 resource. Click here for details of this TDM resource and how to access it….”

Indian scientists launch preprint repository to boost research quality

 
 

Researchers in India will soon have their own preprint repository where they can post manuscripts from any discipline. The founders of IndiaRxiv hope it will improve the quality of science in the country.

The repository joins a growing number of preprint servers hosting research from a particular region, including Indonesia’s INA-Rxiv and Africa’s AfricArxiv….”

SciELO Preprints em operação | SciELO em Perspectiva

From Google’s English:  “The SciELO Program starts the operation of the SciELO Preprints server – https://preprints.scielo.org – in order to speed up the availability of research articles and other scientific communications before or in parallel with their evaluation and validation by scientific journals. Although open to all thematic areas, SciELO Preprints will immediately serve especially for communications related to COVID-19….”

SciELO Preprints em operação | SciELO em Perspectiva

From Google’s English:  “The SciELO Program starts the operation of the SciELO Preprints server – https://preprints.scielo.org – in order to speed up the availability of research articles and other scientific communications before or in parallel with their evaluation and validation by scientific journals. Although open to all thematic areas, SciELO Preprints will immediately serve especially for communications related to COVID-19….”

Research Square

“Research Square is a preprint platform that allows you to share your work early, gain feedback and improve your manuscript, and discover emerging science all in one place….

Research Square features all the characteristics of a traditional preprint server, but with some notable differences:

All preprints are displayed in HTML. The full text is indexed and machine-readable so that it is more discoverable by search engines.
Authors can demonstrate to the community they meet established standards in scientific reporting by purchasing assessments in integrity, reproducibility, and statistical rigor. Badge icons are displayed on their article page for assessments they pass. Learn more about our badges here.
Video summaries can be added to the article page to communicate your research to a broader audience.
Readers can comment on a paper using our custom-built commenting system or the hypothes.is annotation tool.
Figures are rendered using a lightbox that allows for zooming and downloading. …”