As well as the recording above, please find speaker slides, key takeaways and some responses to attendee questions below.
Date: January 13, 2022
Time: 3 – 4.15 pm UK/UTC
Other time zones: 7.00 am Pacific Time, 8.00 am Mountain Time; 9.00 am Central Time, 10.00 am Eastern Time, 12.00 pm Brasilia Time, 4.00 pm Central European Time, 4.00 pm West Africa Time, 5.00 pm South Africa Standard Time, 8.30 pm India Standard Time, 11 pm Singapore Time (Time converter tool)
OASPA is delighted to welcome you to its first webinar of 2022, where we take an evidence-informed approach to how publishers and others in the scholarly communications system responded to the pandemic and explore what the findings can tell us about the future of scholarly communication.
The sharing of the COVID genome by researchers, preprinting, and a commitment by many publishers to make all the COVID research they published freely available, has become a poster child for the power of Open Science. And within one year of the pandemic being announced, there were not one but five viable vaccines globally available – a remarkable human achievement. What is the evidence that the scholarly communications system contributed to this progress? In particular, can we now seize the opportunity to use the evidence to improve the way all global scholarly knowledge is shared, evaluated and communicated?
At the beginning of the pandemic, OASPA endorsed and published an open letter of intent from a small group of publishers and others who wanted to work together to speed up the review of COVID19 research articles. The group formed in direct response to a Wellcome statement calling on the community to make research and data about COVID19 rapidly and freely accessible. The Research on Research Institute (RoRI) worked as scientific advisors to the rapid review group to collect, share and analyse data, not just from the participants, but about the scholarly communications system as a whole. The resulting report, including analyses of preprinting, data sharing, peer review practices and the social and scientific attention that COVID papers received, was published on Dec 6th 2021.
In this OASPA webinar, members of RoRI summarise the approach and evidence that has informed the key recommendations of the report. We also hear responses to the report – and reactions to how publishers and others shaped up – from key representatives involved in the pandemic and an early career researcher who explains why he has committed to forgo the normal journal route to publication and make all his work available as preprints.
Please read the report in advance if you can and come and join us live armed with your responses and questions for RoRi and the panel. We look forward to a lively discussion on the future of scholarly communication with you all.
The line up for the webinar
- Presenting the report from the Research on Research Institute: Ludo Waltman (Leiden University) and Stephen Pinfield (Sheffield University)
- Five minutes responses to the report from: Robert Terry (World Health Organisation), Hannah Hope (Wellcome), Jessica Polka (ASAPBio) and Stefano Davide Vianello (EPFl, Lausanne, Switzerland)
- Q&A session
- Chair: Catriona J. MacCallum (Hindawi and OASPA Board Member)
- Waltman, Ludo, Stephen Pinfield, Narmin Rzayeva, Susana Oliveira Henriques, Zhichao Fang, Johanna Brumberg, Sarah Greaves, et al. ‘Scholarly Communication in Times of Crisis: The Response of the Scholarly Communication System to the COVID-19 Pandemic’. Report. Research on Research Institute, 6 December 2021.
- Vianello, Stefano Davide. ‘The “Pre” in [My] “Preprint” Is for Pre-Figurative’. Commonplace (blog), 7 October 2021.
- OASPA COVID-19 Rapid Review Collaboration Initiative Hub
- Most COVID-19 research articles have been made open or free access.
- Levels of preprinting and data sharing are (much) lower than many had hoped.
- There has been a lot of pressure on the journal peer review system – rejection rates for COVID-19 research were high because of issues with quality – yet many journals managed to speed up peer review of COVID-19 research.
- Publishers, platforms and other service providers are innovating new forms of peer review, but only at a small scale.
- Different stakeholders jointly made a strong commitment to open sharing of COVID-19 research results, but there seems to have been less ongoing collaborative working in ensuring the commitment was implemented.
The report concludes that there is no magic bullet to improving scholarly communication and provides 16 recommendations for the future. Improving scholarly communication is a joint responsibility that requires stakeholders working together more intensively to realise change in the system.
Webinar registration link: bit.ly/OASPA-Jan-Webinar
- I found Rob Terry’s argument in favor of a ‘publish first, then review, then impact’ model quite convincing. This makes it even more disappointing that the level of preprinting of COVID-19 research is quite low.
- I think the discussion made clear we are facing challenges that cannot be addressed by a single stakeholder group (e.g., publishers) on its own. Collaboration and alignment between stakeholder groups is the only way forward.
- A key question seems to be what role funders should play. They are putting a lot of effort into pushing for OA, but shouldn’t they broaden their perspective and develop a more holistic view on what matters in scholarly publishing? This would entail developing a clear idea on the role of preprinting and peer review.
- Finally, I believe the webinar raises questions for OASPA. How could OASPA contribute to facilitating and intensifying conversations between stakeholder groups? For Stephen and me, as well as other colleagues in RoRI, this will also be a key priority.
- Solutions for communicating science in an open, equitable, rapid and contextualised way already exist and they are journal independent
- Funding, support, and awareness thus needs to be focused on initiatives revolving around preprints, their journal-independent peer-review, and their curation
- Discussions on the value of scholarly communication innovations are still stunted by dominant perspectives that do not see them as valid in their own merits, but always in relation to publisher/journal operations.
- Re Hannah’s point – Research is iterative, preprints support this iteration
– Exciting & significant to see vocal support from orgs for preprinting & other open sciences practices
– Nevertheless, the level of preprinting (& data sharing) was surprisingly low
– Disciplinary variations could be at play – monthly preprints on EuropePMC reached ~7-10% of the monthly volume of PubMed
– Nevertheless, given all the benefits of preprints and stated encouragement, we have more work to do – what happened?
- Implementation of “encourage” could vary drastically
– Transparency in publisher implementation important
– How & when was this encouragement communicated to authors?
– We need clear messaging & easy-to-use workflows & integrations with servers
- What else do we need to do to make preprints not just encouraged, but embraced?
– Lack of awareness – education needed
– Small ASAPbio survey in 2020 – largest concern was premature media attention on preprints – additional transparency in labeling
– Concerns about misinformation – remedy: public expert opinion
- Encouraging to see 53% of authors got feedback on preprints – to echo Hannah, let’s make this public so entire community can benefit
– more support & incentives for public feedback on preprints needed
Catriona MacCallum, Chair (Hindawi and OASPA Board) @catmacOA
Hannah Hope (Wellcome) @hjhope
Hannah Hope is Open Research Lead at Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that wants everyone to benefit from science’s potential to improve health and save lives. Hannah is responsible for enabling Wellcome-funded research to be open and accessible (where appropriate) to everyone who needs it. Hannah is a director of the OA Switchboard. Prior to Wellcome, Hannah worked for a UK learned society as a publisher and science communicator following the completion of her PhD in molecular biology.
Stephen Pinfield (University of Sheffield) @StephenPinfield
Robert Terry (World Health Organization and RoRI) @Terry364
Robert Terry is a senior strategic and project manager with more than 20 years’ experience in strategy development and implementation. He has specialized knowledge in natural resources development and health research policy in low and high income countries for governmental, non-governmental, philanthropic and UN organizations.
His early career in research and development was in agriculture and he went on to positions at the Royal Society where he ran the international research exchange programme and the Wellcome Trust where he was senior policy advisor. He led the development of Wellcome’s first open access policy and the subsequent establishment of Europe PubMed Central.
Robert joined the World Health Organization in 2007 and led on the development and implementation of the Organization’s strategy on Research for Health. He is one of the lead authors of the 2013 WHO World Health Report– Research for Universal Health Coverage and developed the concept which led to the creation of the WHO Global Health R&D Observatory. Currently he works for the World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) where he is responsible for knowledge management, open access, data sharing and ensuring evidence is translated into policy and practice.
He has lived and worked in the Middle East and undertaken development consultancies in a number of African and Asian countries for Oxfam, UNAIS and DFID. He has a PhD in Global Health Research Policy from the University of Cambridge as well as an MPhil. in Plant Breeding (crop genetics) and a BSc from the University of Sheffield.
Stefano Vianello (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL))
Stefano recently defended his PhD in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. He obtained a Master of Philosophy in Genetics at the University of Cambridge, UK and is interested in data communication and visual storytelling in Developmental Biology. He strongly resonates with knowledge equity movements of embodied knowledge and pedagogy, and writes to provide an ERC perspective on bibliodiversity, literature sourcing, and literature curation in the era of preprints. He recently articulated his vision of “preprints as the end-product” in terms of “prefigurative printing”.
Ludo Waltman (Leiden University and RoRI) @LudoWaltman
Ludo is Professor of Quantitative Science Studies at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University and Associate Director of the Research on Research Institute (RoRI), where he co-leads a research program studying the scholarly communication system. Ludo also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Quantitative Science Studies, published by MIT Press.
With thanks to the Royal Society of Chemistry who are sponsoring this webinar.