Open science round-up: January 2023

Jenice Goveas provides an overview of Open Science news from January 2023 - the 'year of open science'. On this and more - in our regular monthly round-up.

Open science round-up: January 2023

With preprints gaining more prominence in the scientific community, Jessica Polka and Iratxe Puebla of ASAPbio summarize the latest achievements in preprint advocacy and explain what lies ahead:

Preprint usage has flourished in the life sciences, growing from a relatively unknown practice to being relatively commonplace in some disciplines in the course of 10 years. In addition to providing quicker access to new findings, preprints offer an opportunity to reimagine the peer review process with greater openness and transparency. 

Public feedback and peer review of preprints offers important information to readers of preprints, who are often looking for expert reaction to articles that are otherwise unreviewed and uncurated. This is especially urgent in the time of COVID-19, and review projects such as Rapid Reviews: Infectious Diseases have risen to the occasion.  Various journal-agnostic review projects (such as Review Commons and Peer Community In) have focused on providing constructive feedback to improve the scientific content of a paper, instead of judging its suitability for a particular journal. New platforms such as preLights and PREreview have enabled a broader participation of early career researchers and others often underrepresented in traditional peer review.  

As with all forms of peer review, recognition from institutions, funders, and journals will be critical in supporting engagement. This has already begun: in 2022, EMBO announced that refereed preprints meet postdoctoral fellowship eligibility requirements. cOAlition S released a statement about recognition for peer review outside of journals, and nine funders expressed support for eLife’s new editorial model. Building on this momentum, we collaborated with EMBO and HHMI to organize a workshop on Recognizing Preprint Peer Review in December of 2022. At the meeting, researchers, funders, and representatives from publishers, preprint review projects, and other infrastructure providers found common ground for recognition of preprint review. Attendees identified features (inclusion of discussions about scientific rigor, author identity, competing interests, etc.) necessary for considering preprint feedback as “review,” and agreed upon areas in which it can most readily be integrated into editorial and assessment practices. 

ASAPbio promotes constructive engagement with preprints and preprint review in our community – the centerpiece of which is an 8-month Fellows program that provides training and practical experience in preprint advocacy. We are happy to announce the 2023 Fellows program and invite all interested to bring diverse perspectives into this year’s cohort. 

Jessica Polka

As Executive Director of ASAPbio, Jessica leads initiatives related to peer review and oversees the organization’s general administrative and strategic needs. Background: Jessica performed postdoctoral research in the department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School (2013-2016) following a PhD in Biochemistry from UCSF (2012). She lives and works in Somerville, MA.  

Iratxe Puebla

Iratxe is Director of Strategic Initiatives & Community for ASAPbio. In her role Iratxe works to foster awareness of preprints and drive community engagement, Iratxe also coordinates the ASAPbio Fellows program. Prior to ASAPbio, Iratxe worked in publishing for 16 years, she held editorial roles with Open Access publishers, initially at BioMed Central and then PLOS, where she was Deputy Editor-in-Chief at the journal PLOS ONE. 

Big stories in Open Science

2023 – The Federal Year of Open Science 

Open Science gaining prominence in the Middle East and North Africa 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extend support to Open Knowledge Maps 

Romania’s Framework for Development of Open Science 

Framework for Strengthening Federal Scientific Integrity Policies and Practices 

Canada Preparing for a Research Data Management Policy 

Georgia taking big strides in Open Access 

Nature Expands its Open Access Waiver Policies for Global South 

eLife’s New Model is now live 

Ukrainian Awarded for Innovation in Scholarly Communication 

Horizon Europe’s Scientific Lake Kicks off:  

A New Preprint server for Optics and Photonics 

Joint strategy for strengthening European Repository Network 

Open science events and opportunities

Job opportunities

Our top ten open science reads

  1. Aaron Swartz and His Legacy of Internet Activism 
  2. Breaking down barriers to data sharing 
  3. Intellectual Property Policy at The Neuro, an Open Science Institute 
  4. DORA at 10: Looking back at the history and forward to the future of research assessment 
  5. India’s Fumbled Chance For Sharing Knowledge 
  6. Blow Away the January Blues! 10 Takeaways from four European Commission Studies on Research and Copyright 
  7. The ‘OA market’ – what is healthy? 
  8. How and Why to Share Scientific Code 
  9. Mapping the Swiss Landscape of Diamond Open Access Journals 
  10. Preprint review should form part of PhD programmes and postdoc training 

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