Abstract: Background: The lack of incentives has been described as the rate-limiting step for data sharing. Currently, the evaluation of scientific productivity by academic institutions and funders has been heavily reliant upon the number of publications and citations, raising questions about the adequacy of such mechanisms to reward data generation and sharing. This article provides a systematic review of the current and proposed incentive mechanisms for researchers in biomedical sciences and discusses their strengths and weaknesses.
Methods: PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were queried for original research articles, editorials, and opinion articles on incentives for data sharing. Articles were included if they discussed incentive mechanisms for data sharing, were applicable to biomedical sciences, and were written in English.
Results: Although coauthorship in return for the sharing of data is common, this might be incompatible with authorship guidelines and raise concerns over the ability of secondary analysts to contest the proposed research methods or conclusions that are drawn. Data publication, citation, and altmetrics have been proposed as alternative routes to credit data generators, which could address these disadvantages. Their primary downsides are that they are not well-established, it is difficult to acquire evidence to support their implementation, and that they could be gamed or give rise to novel forms of research misconduct.
Conclusions: Alternative recognition mechanisms need to be more commonly used to generate evidence on their power to stimulate data sharing, and to assess where they fall short. There is ample discussion in policy documents on alternative crediting systems to work toward Open Science, which indicates that that there is an interest in working out more elaborate metascience programs.
Abstract: Traditional peer review is undergoing increasing questioning, given the increase in scientific fraud detected and the replication crisis biomedical research is currently going through. Researchers, academic institutions, and research funding agencies actively promote scientific record analysis, and multiple tools have been developed to achieve this. Different biomedical journals were founded with post-publication peer review as a feature, and there are several digital platforms that make this process possible. In addition, an increasing number biomedical journals allow commenting on articles published on their websites, which is also possible in preprint repositories. Moreover, publishing houses and researchers are largely using social networks for the dissemination and discussion of articles, which sometimes culminates in refutations and retractions.
Data sharing is not common as part of biomedical publications
To increase data sharing biomedical journals, funders and academic institutions should introduce policies that will enhance data sharing and other open science practices
As part of research assessments incentives and rewards need to be introduced
Data sharing practices remain elusive in biomedicine. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the problems associated with the lack of data sharing. The objective of this article is to draw attention to the problem and possible ways to address it.
Study Design and Setting
This article examines some of the current open access and data sharing practices at biomedical journals and funders. In the context of COVID-19 the consequences of these practices is also examined.
Despite the best of intentions on the part of funders and journals, COVID-19 biomedical research is not open. Academic institutions need to incentivize and reward data sharing practices as part of researcher assessment. Journals and funders need to implement strong polices to ensure that data sharing becomes a reality. Patients support sharing of their data.
Biomedical journals, funders and academic institutions should act to require stronger adherence to data sharing policies.
“In 2021 CBMRT will be running an exciting new global program of three virtual sessions that will focus on the latest developments in the biomedical research transparency space. Just like our in-person, annual Biomedical Transparency Summits, participants will be updated by engaging experts who are leading transparency efforts in the policy, industry, technology, academia, publishing and funding domains. Presentations will be deliberately brief (but content rich) to allow ample time for productive discussions to ensue….”
Abstract: Recent concerns about the reproducibility of science have led to several calls for more open and transparent research practices and for the monitoring of potential improvements over time. However, with tens of thousands of new biomedical articles published per week, manually mapping and monitoring changes in transparency is unrealistic. We present an open-source, automated approach to identify 5 indicators of transparency (data sharing, code sharing, conflicts of interest disclosures, funding disclosures, and protocol registration) and apply it across the entire open access biomedical literature of 2.75 million articles on PubMed Central (PMC). Our results indicate remarkable improvements in some (e.g., conflict of interest [COI] disclosures and funding disclosures), but not other (e.g., protocol registration and code sharing) areas of transparency over time, and map transparency across fields of science, countries, journals, and publishers. This work has enabled the creation of a large, integrated, and openly available database to expedite further efforts to monitor, understand, and promote transparency and reproducibility in science.
Abstract: In April 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented the Public Access Policy (PAP), which mandated that the full text of NIH-supported articles be made freely available on PubMed Central – the NIH’s repository of biomedical research. This paper uses 600,000 NIH articles and a matched comparison sample to examine how the PAP impacted researcher access to the biomedical literature and publishing patterns in biomedicine. Though some estimates allow for large citation increases after the PAP, the most credible estimates suggest that the PAP had a relatively modest effect on citations, which is consistent with most researchers having widespread access to the biomedical literature prior to the PAP, leaving little room to increase access. I also find that NIH articles are more likely to be published in traditional subscription-based journals (as opposed to ‘open access’ journals) after the PAP. This indicates that any discrimination the PAP induced, by subscription-based journals against NIH articles, was offset by other factors – possibly the decisions of editors and submission behaviour of authors.
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.
Study design and setting Preprint platforms that were launched up to 25 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).
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, 6 (14%) were provided by F1000 Research (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. 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.
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.
Preprint usage is growing rapidly in the life sciences; however, questions remain on the relative quality of preprints when compared to published articles. An objective dimension of quality that is readily measurable is completeness of reporting, as transparency can improve the reader’s ability to independently interpret data and reproduce findings.
In this observational study, we initially compared independent samples of articles published in bioRxiv and in PubMed-indexed journals in 2016 using a quality of reporting questionnaire. After that, we performed paired comparisons between preprints from bioRxiv to their own peer-reviewed versions in journals.
Peer-reviewed articles had, on average, higher quality of reporting than preprints, although the difference was small, with absolute differences of 5.0% [95% CI 1.4, 8.6] and 4.7% [95% CI 2.4, 7.0] of reported items in the independent samples and paired sample comparison, respectively. There were larger differences favoring peer-reviewed articles in subjective ratings of how clearly titles and abstracts presented the main findings and how easy it was to locate relevant reporting information. Changes in reporting from preprints to peer-reviewed versions did not correlate with the impact factor of the publication venue or with the time lag from bioRxiv to journal publication.
Our results suggest that, on average, publication in a peer-reviewed journal is associated with improvement in quality of reporting. They also show that quality of reporting in preprints in the life sciences is within a similar range as that of peer-reviewed articles, albeit slightly lower on average, supporting the idea that preprints should be considered valid scientific contributions.