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Jessica Polka - Preprints in the life sciences: Cultural change, funder policies, and peer review


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Free and open access, transparent assessment and dissemination of research in a fast, shared, collaborative, participative and clear manner for all of society are some of the principles of Open Science. The recognition and adoption of open research practices is growing, including new policies that increase public access to scholarly literature and encourage openness of codes and data sharing for its reproduction. Among these initiatives which are reconfiguring scientific communication, preprints have been consolidating themselves as a promising space for free, open and transparent knowledge, streamlining the editorial process. Preprints are the first formal step in making the manuscripts publicly available before being approved by a journal.

The logics of publishing based on science guiding principles have always been in the decision-making power of the editor. From the choice of referees to the distribution of articles approved in publishing editions, the time management to publish keeping quality, periodicity and celerity regarding feedback on the output was always a challenge to editors. Moreover, this time management becomes an even greater challenge to the publishing process in Brazil, and in some parts of Latin America, whose journals’ management is mainly based on voluntary work. Given this scenario, initiatives that seek to make scientific communication faster and more transparent appear as solutions to the daily difficulties of scientific publishing, such as, for instance, preprints, continuous publication and open peer review.

In view of this new reconfiguration of the editorial process, this panel aims to discuss the panorama of fast and transparent scientific communication, seeking to share experiences that have been developed that respond to the editorial demands on the management of time and quality of the papers published in scientific journals and, particularly, to support the development of the SciELO Program preprints policy.

The challenges of scientific publishing and editorial ethics regarding time management and quality; initiatives for fast research communication; metrics and alternative indicators of scientific visibility; preprints and continuous communication experience in the national and international scenario; editorial dynamics of preprints and its models in the market; the demands of the continuous publication flow; open modalities of peer review: peer-review, open peer-review, and crowd-based peer review; the spaces of fast communication in scholarly social platforms.

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Jessica Polka - Preprints in the life sciences: Cultural change, funder policies, and peer review

  1. 1. Preprints in the life sciences Cultural change, funder policies, and peer review 2018-09-26 Jessica Polka (@jessicapolka) Executive Director, ASAPbio (@ASAPbio_) #ASAPbio Original content licensed under CC BY These slides:
  2. 2. Knowledge grows only as fast as shoulders to stand on Photo by calafellvalo - CC BY-NC-ND
  3. 3. Ron Vale (2015) Publication in cell biology is taking longer and longer
  4. 4. ASAPbio is a 501(c)(3) promoting transparency & innovation in life sciences publishing
  5. 5. Emojis by Mozilla (CC BY 4.0) Journal 1 Journal 2 Journal 3 Private Public Peer Review Submit Revise Manuscript Peer reviewed paper Revise Community feedback, ideas, discussion Months to years Preprints make work available almost immediately Preprint server <48 hrs screening process @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka •Permanent •Versioned •Citable
  6. 6. Preprints are widespread in other disciplines • Founded in 1991 • >100,000 preprints posted per year* * @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka
  7. 7. Image compiled by Jeroen Bosman (@jeroenbosman) via Bianca Kramer (@MsPhelps) Preprints for all disciplines, languages, & communities
  8. 8. Chart by Jordan Anaya,
  9. 9. 3 (selected) benefits of preprinting • Funder recognition • Journal marketplace • Feedback #ASAPbio 9 Personal experiences with preprints: info/preprint-stories
  10. 10. Funders encouraging preprints as evidence of productivity in grant applications & reports Current list and links to policies at @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka
  11. 11. Preprint servers as a marketplace for editors “we now have a dedicated team of editors who will focus on identifying [preprints] that are potentially suitable for publication in PLOS Genetics.” * * Bringing PLOS Genetics Editors to Preprint Servers Gregory S. Barsh, Casey M. Bergman, Christopher D. Brown, Nadia D. Singh, Gregory P. Copenhaver Published: December 1, 2016 #ASAPbio
  12. 12. Preprint feedback helps authors #ASAPbio
  13. 13. Preprint feedback helps readers @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka
  14. 14. Preprint feedback helps journals “In addition, the journal reserves the right--but is not obligated-- to consider the comments made to manuscripts posted to preprint servers and factor these comments into final decisions at any stage of the peer review process.” @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka
  15. 15. New ways of evaluating preprints Learn more More details in this spreadsheet
  16. 16. Preprint journal clubs • Meaningful exercise: send feedback to authors to improve their paper • Teach students how to write a review @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka Prachee Avasthi at the University of Kansas Medical Center draws material for her “Analysis of Scientific Papers” course exclusively from preprint servers. She’s generously shared her syllabus and introductory slide deck, and the students’ reviews can be found on the
  17. 17. 131 journals commit to publishing peer reviews #PublishPeerReview Journal(s) Publisher Contact Expected implementation date PLOS Biology PLOS Veronique Kiermer Q2 2019 PLOS Computational Biology PLOS Veronique Kiermer Q2 2019 PLOS Genetics PLOS Veronique Kiermer Q2 2019 PLOS Medicine PLOS Veronique Kiermer Q2 2019 PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases PLOS Veronique Kiermer Q2 2019 PLOS ONE PLOS Veronique Kiermer Q2 2019 PLOS Pathogens PLOS Veronique Kiermer Q2 2019 Obstetrics & Gynecology Wolters Kluwer Health Rebecca Benner October 2018 Journal of Cell Biology Rockefeller University Press Rebecca Alvania & Jodi Nunnari Late 2018 Proceedings of the Royal Society B Royal Society Spencer Barrett Early 2019 Development Company of Biologists Claire Moulton Early 2019 Journal of Cell Science Company of Biologists Claire Moulton Early 2019 4open EDP Sciences Claus Roll Early 2019 Molecular Biology of the Cell ASCB David Drubin January 2019 Journal of Neuroscience Research Wiley Eric Prager January 2019 Progress in Neurobiology Elsevier Bahar Mehmani Dec-18 Read article Illustration by David Parkins
  18. 18. But...
  19. 19. Preprint adoption in perspective How can we increase preprint adoption further?
  20. 20. The cycle of cultural change Behavioral intention Adapted from Knott, Muers, Aldridge, 2008. Achieving Culture Change: A Policy Framework. UK Cabinet Office Strategy Unit. Behavioral path Behavior Behavioral drivers Cultural Capital (values/beliefs) Behavioral norm @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka Barriers & incentives (journal, university, funder policies) Sharing early is good Deciding to preprint
  21. 21. Ambassadors promoting preprint awareness @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka Please join us! ambassadors
  22. 22. Resources at Coming soon: resources on preprint licensing
  23. 23. Thank you • Ron Vale (Founder/President) • Cynthia Wolberger (Vice President) • James Fraser (Secretary & Treasurer) • Prachee Avasthi • Daniel Colón-Ramos • Tony Hyman • Heather Joseph • Harlan Krumholz • Harold Varmus • Dick Wilder (non-voting) @ASAPbio_ | #ASAPbio | @jessicapolka