Post by Julia Slone-Murphy
This week, there's a buzz about peer review research while Molecular Brain updates its policy on data sharing, and more journals go open access.
Research on research
The BMJ published an editorial about how important it is to research peer review and biomedical publication, saying that such research is essential to the quality of evidence that healthcare is based on. The editorial highlights the wealth of data held by journal publishers from an abundance of submitted manuscripts, but points out that editors don't have enough time or expertise to analyse them, whereas researchers have the skills but can't access the data. The authors urge funding bodies to support such research, and publishers to partner with the BMJ in conducting it. https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m661.long (free)
Similarly, Nature published a call from a group of authors involved in the PEERE collaboration, for journals, funders and researchers to create an infrastructure to study peer review. They highlight that such calls have been put out for decades, yet little research has been done. The article outlines questions that should be investigated and strategies for sharing anonymised peer review data. The authors argue that an agreement on sharing peer review data could be a clear way of distinguishing legitimate journals from predatory ones, stating that peer review research will benefit authors, reviewers and editors, and increase the reliability of the scientific literature. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00500-y (free)
Where are the data?
The Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Brain has released some shocking figures on responses to his requests for raw data as part of his editorial decisions on 41 submitted manuscripts. He writes, “more than 97% of the 41 manuscripts did not present the raw data supporting their results when requested by an editor, suggesting a possibility that the raw data did not exist from the beginning" and calls for journals to encourage authors to provide their raw data in a publicly accessible database. This approach should go some way towards tackling the reproducibility crisis and boost the public's trust in scientific research. https://molecularbrain.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13041-020-0552-2 (free)
The International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research has transitioned to a fully open access journal. Its publisher, Wiley, states that going open access significantly increases downloads and readership of articles, giving greater visibility to authors and to the research published in the journal. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/mpr.1817 (free)
And European Science Editing, the journal published by the European Association of Science Editors, has also moved from printed content to fully digital and open access, with articles being published as they are accepted. This is great news, as it will allow everyone who's interested in how best to communicate their research to access the valuable insights published in this journal, such as how to report values with an appropriate degree of precision. https://ese.arphahub.com/article/50999/ (free)