How can something exclusive, secretive, and irreproducible be considered to be objective? How can something exclusive, secretive, and irreproducible be considered as a ‘gold standard’ of any sort?
Traditional, closed peer review has these traits, but yet for some reason held in esteem as the most rigorous and objective standard of research and knowledge generation that we have. Peer review fails peer review, and its own test of integrity and validation, and is one of the greatest ironies of the academic world.
What we need is a new standard of peer review that is suitable for a Web-based world of scholarly communication. This is to help accommodate the increasingly rapid communication of research and new sources of information, and bring peer review out of the dark (literally) ages and into one which makes sense in a world of fast, open, digital knowledge dissemination.
What should a standard for peer review look like in 2017?
The big test for peer review, and any future version of it, is how does the scientific community apply its stamp of approval?
At ScienceOpen, we have over 28 million article records all available for public, post-publication peer review (PPPR), 3 million of which are full-text Open Access. This functionality is a response to increasing calls for continuous moderation of the published research literature, a consistent questioning of the functionality of the traditional peer review model (some examples in this post), and an increasing recognition that scientific discourse does not stop at the point of publication for any research article.
In spite of this increasing demand, the uptake of PPPR across different platforms seems to be relatively low overall. So what are some of the main reasons why researchers might feel less motivated to do PPPR, and is there anything we can do to increase its usage and adoption as part of a more open research culture?
What even is ‘post-publication’ peer review?
There is a general mentality among researchers that once research has been published, it has already ‘passed’ peer review, so why should it need to be peer reviewed again?
Hi Ashley, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?
Certainly! I began college aiming for a Zoology degree while working at the University’s library. My love for information grew in proportion to my struggle for mastering Physics and Organic Chemistry. My senior year I transferred disciplines and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) focused on Library and Information Science. For the next decade, I worked in both public and academic libraries and began pursuing my Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Washington (to be completed this summer. Yay!) Now I have found myself submersed in the realm of scientific knowledge and research dissemination. I find this to be a perfect way to combine all my passions – science, knowledge, and service to others.
When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?
The first time I heard about these topics was while interning at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the Knowledge and Research Services department. My initial thought was “How have I not heard of this before?!”. Having worked in libraries for many years I was familiar with the serials crisis and the importance of research, but I had not been introduced to the Open Access movement. Then I thought, “Of course Open Access should be the norm!”. Knowledge should be a public good.
“Of course Open Access should be the norm!”. Knowledge should be a public good.
What’s it like working for the Gates Foundation? How much of your time do you spend working on ‘open’ related things?
I really love working for the Gates Foundation – it’s providing me with the opportunity, each day, to work towards a greater good. A message that is posted throughout the foundation is “All Lives Have Equal Value” and I take this to heart. This is the first institution where I have been employed to embrace innovation and move initiatives forward fairly quickly. One of our tenets is that we will take risks that others can’t or won’t and I’m proud of this. Currently, I spend about 90% of my time on Open Access. This encompasses internal and external communications, advocacy of our policy, and working with our grantees to make their research open access. We’ve recently joined the newly launched Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) to work with other research funders worldwide to adopt mandates like ours. Together we can create a funding environment where Open Access or even Open Science is the norm. I am beginning to see the impact that my work has on the scientific community and it’s very exciting. We have other partnerships in the works that will be announced soon to continue to support the Open Access movement.
Hi Gautam! Thanks for joining us here. Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?
Hi Jon, thanks for having me here!
I’m a postdoc in Buzz Baum’s lab at UCL working on the evolution of cell division- all the way from Archaea to unicellular eukaryotes. I found myself in London in mid-2015 after a bit of continent-hopping that included a stint as a cell-biologist-in-training at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore and a PhD in Systems Biology at Stanford University.
When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?
Back in 2005, when I was an undergraduate in India without proper library access. PLOS and PMC came to the rescue! At the time paywalls were a very real and practical hindrance, but I must confess I didn’t think much about the actual ethics of publishing until well into my PhD.
As a postdoc in the UK, how do you feel about recent policy changes around Open Access?
I think the UK is making some positive moves, such as requiring Open Access for compliance with the Research Evaluation Framework. Funding agencies like the BBSRC and Wellcome Trust defray the costs of “gold” Open Access for published research supported by their grants. However, in the absence of accompanying reforms in the publishing industry or revised evaluation criteria for scientists, many of these policy changes will simply funnel more taxpayer money towards established scientific journals, providing more of a stopgap than a long-term solution.
I must confess I didn’t think much about the actual ethics of publishing until well into my PhD
A whole new year means a chance to start or continue building your profile as an Open Scientist! There are so many ways you can do this, from publishing Open Access and sharing your research data, to helping to teach students how to code or use GitHub. Every little bit helps.
Here are ten recommendations from us to kick-start the New Year with an Open Science bang!
At ScienceOpen, we are constantly upgrading and adapting our platform to meet the needs of the different stakeholders in scholarly publishing. We work with a huge range of publishers (e.g., Brill, Open Library of Humanities, Higher Education PressPeerJ, Cold Spring Harbor) and listen to the needs of researchers, together building solutions to help enhance the global research process.
With the re-launch of ScienceOpen, we really are pushing forward to create a multi-purpose, solution-oriented platform that aligns with ongoing trends in scholarly publishing.
ScienceOpen for publishers and editors
Our new platform provides an invaluable service for publishers and editors. We provide aggregate metrics for re-use, including the number of readers on our platform and the summed Altmetric score. As you can see in the example below for BioMed Central, these numbers can be used to look at how well you’re competing with other publishers, as well as how your content is being read and re-used by researchers. Content on the site is aggregated through PubMed Central, SciELO, ORCID and arXiv or added via reference analysis with a DOI metadata check with Crossref. Or publishers can work directly with us to add their content to the site for a fee. We now offer extra features like a “read” button link back to the publisher version of record. We are happy to index content of all license types.
The more of your content we have on our platform, the better the level of service we can provide for you.
We have unified our search interface and applied it to all of our author/member profiles, collections, journals and publishers. That’s a whole lot more research context, metadata, metrics, and useful functionality. The newly upgraded usage statistics are incredibly useful in seeing who us re-using your work and how. This additional dimension is built on top of our newly enhanced search and discovery platform, and provides a powerful way for researchers to develop research, article context, and also their individual profiles within the research community, and all in the open.
We built a ‘research collider’ to make magic happen
At ScienceOpen, we offer a platform where any researcher can comment on, and post-publication peer review any research article they want to. By creating thematic collections, you can bring this into a community space, putting work and additional commentary in the context of related research. By having collection editors that can invite people to review articles, we retain the moderation aspect that is crucial to developments in open peer review. We give the power to researchers to do what they want, when they want, and to use and share their expertise in the most efficient possible way.
As part of our ongoing development of ScienceOpen 2.017, we have designed an exciting and most importantly, pretty, new context-enhanced webpage for each of our 27 million article records. Such enriched article metadata is becoming increasingly important in defining the context of research in the evolution of scholarly communication, in which we are moving away from journal- to article-level evaluation.
Statistically significant upgrades
All of the statistics have been moved to the top of the page, including the number of page views or readers, the Altmetric score, the number of recommendations, and the number of social media shares.
Newly featured statistics include the top references cited within, the top articles citing that paper, and the number of similar articles based on keywords and topics. These new features are great for authors as content creators, researchers as users, as well as publishers for understanding the popularity and context of research they publish.
Kick off the new year with the new unified search on ScienceOpen! We have accomplished a lot over the last year and are looking forward to supporting the academic community in 2017.
In 2016 ScienceOpen brought you more context: Now your search comes with a new analytics bar that breaks down your search results by collections, journals, publishers, disciplines, and keywords for quicker filtering. Try a search for the pressing topics of 2016 like Zika or CRISPR and take the new features for a spin.
Researcher output, journal content, reference lists, citing articles can all be dynamically sorted and explored via Altmetric score, citations, date, activity. Statistics for journals, publishers and authors give overview of the content that we are indexing on ScienceOpen. Check out the most relevant journals on ScienceOpen, for example BMC Infectious Diseases or PloS Genetics for a new perspective. Or add your publications to your ORCID and get a dynamic view of your own output.
In 2016 ScienceOpen brought you more open: The ScienceOpen team participated in and helped organize numerous community events promoting Open Science. From Peer Review Week to OpenCon, talks at SSP in Vancouver and SpotOn in London, our team was on the road, debating hot issues in scholarly communication.
In order to bring more visibility to smaller community open access journals, very often with close to non-existent funding and run on a voluntary basis, we launched our platinum indexing competition. It was geared towards open access journals charging no APCs to their authors. Four successful rounds in, we have selected 18 journals to be indexed and awarded some of them with special featured collections on the ScienceOpen platform. This activity was particularly rewarding as we heard back from journals’ editors expressing their enthusiasm about the ScienceOpen project and enjoying bigger usage numbers on their content.
The ScienceOpen 2.017 version will continue to focus on context, content and open science. We are your starting point for academic discovery and networking. Together let’s explore new ways to support visibility for your publications, promote peer review, improve search and discovery and facilitate collection building. Here is to putting research in context! The year 2016 had some great moments – may 2017 bring many, many more!
At ScienceOpen, we’ve just upgraded our search and discovery platform to be faster, smarter, and more efficient. A new user interface and filtering capabilities provide a better discovery experience for users. ScienceOpen searches more than 27 million full text open access or article metadata records and puts them in context. We include peer-reviewed academic articles from all fields, including pre-prints that we draw from the arXiv and which are explicitly tagged as such.
The current scale of academic publishing around the world is enormous. According to a recent STM report, we currently publish around 2.5 million new peer reviewed articles every single year, and that’s just in English language journals.
The problem with this for researchers and more broadly is how to stay up to date with newly published research. And not just in our own fields, but in related fields too. Researchers are permanently inundated, and we need to find a way to sift the wheat from the chaff.
The solution is smart and enhanced search and discovery. Platforms like ResearchGate and Google Scholar (GS) have just a single layer of discovery, with additional functions such as sorting by date to help narrow things down a bit. GS is the de facto mode of discovery of primary research for most academics, but it also contains a whole slew of ‘grey literature’ (i.e., non-peer reviewed outputs), which often interferes with finding the best research.
As well as this, if you do a simple search with GS, say just for dinosaurs, you get 161,000 returned results. How on Earth are you supposed to find the most useful and most relevant research based on this if you want to move beyond Google’s page rank, especially if you’re entering this from outside the area of specialisation? Simply narrowing down by dates does very little to prevent being overwhelmed with an absolute deluge of maybe maybe-not relevant literature. We need to do better at research discovery.