‘Preprints with The Lancet’ launched on SSRN

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Elsevier’s preprint server and early stage research platform, has announced the launch of ‘Preprints with The Lancet’ – a new preprint series for sharing early stage health and medical research. The collaboration brings together SSRN

with The Lancet as part of a six-month pilot to assess whether the health and medical community are ready for this form of early research sharing. Preprints are research papers that are at the submission stage or ‘on-going’ projects. By sharing online, authors widen the opportunity for receiving comments on their work by other researchers, with the goal of an improved final peer-reviewed publication and for the exchange of research areas with the future potential for collaboration. Preprints are primarily intended for research use – they have not been through the important steps of peer review and experienced editorial scrutiny and guidance that is part of the publishing process. All papers on ‘Preprints with The Lancet’ will be free to upload and download. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of

The Lancet, said: ‘Preprints have a long history in physics, mathematics and, more recently, social sciences and biological fields, but medicine and health have been lagging behind. Our preprint pilot will be a first attempt to establish whether there is an appetite in the medical research community for obtaining feedback on

ongoing or submitted research in the form of preprints, and whether such postings are a useful step in the research and publishing process.’ Authors of all research papers submitted

to any Lancet family journal will be asked at submission whether they would like their paper to be posted as a preprint – an opt-in that all co-authors must agree to. Authors can also submit their papers through SSRN directly.

Submitted papers will be subject to

SSRN’s usual checks to ensure that the paper is part of the scholarly discourse, in a subject area covered by one or more of SSRN’s networks. A Lancet editor will then check the paper and ensure the authors have supplied: a statement about the funding of the study; a summarised declaration of interests for all authors; a statement on ethics approval or why the research was exempted; and, if the research is a randomised trial, confirmation that it has been prospectively registered, along with the trial registration number. Once a final version of a preprint paper is peer-reviewed, published and becomes part of the scientific evidence as the version of record, authors are encouraged to link to the preprint of the published paper. Gregg Gordon, managing director of

SSRN, added: ‘It’s fantastic The Lancet has decided to embrace preprints and launch this new series.

Springer Nature partners The Next Web

Springer Nature has partnered with technology forum The Next Web (TNW) Conference to explore how technology can help improve the sharing, ‘discoverability’ and use of research data. With more than half the

world’s research data still not openly available, and open data and good data management important to making research more productive, Springer says this is a pressing issue that the academic community needs resolving. Springer Nature’s latest Launchpad Meetup, held

at the TNW Conference in Amsterdam, saw tech talent from across Europe present ideas on how researchers can be helped to extract more value from their experimental research data through faster, easier routes of discovery and visualisation, organisation or sharing of data. Successful startups will

have the opportunity to collaborate with Springer Nature on pilot projects and create new products. Grace Baynes, vice

president, data and new product development for open research at Springer | @researchinfo

Nature, said: ‘More than half of the world’s research data are still not openly available or Findable, Accessible, Interoperable or Reusable (FAIR). ‘We know that open data and good data management make research more productive, enabling researchers to gain insights, with the potential to make further discoveries from existing data sets. By helping researchers get more from research data, we can unlock innovation for the good of society and the economy.’

Manuscript exchange gathers momentum

Members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved the Manuscript Exchange Common Approach (MECA) – a major new academic publishing initiative. The project will see the industry’s leading technology suppliers work together on a standardised approach to transferring manuscripts between, and among, manuscript systems, such as those in use at publishers and preprint servers. The organisation describes

the ‘outdated, time-intensive way authors currently submit and re- submit manuscripts’ as ‘a major productivity killer for researchers globally’, estimating that 15 million hours of researcher time is consumed each year, simply repeating reviews. But NISO says the problem – described by one expert as ‘publishing’s nasty secret’ – could be solved if journals and publishers were able to transfer manuscripts between publications using different submission-tracking systems. The MECA project will work

towards a number of key goals: • Vocabulary: providing a standard nomenclature;

• Packaging: a simple, flexible, standard way to assemble files;

• Tagging: passing submission information between systems;

• Peer review: passing review information between systems;

• Transfer: transferring information between systems;

• Identity: a unique, consistent identity across systems; and

• Transmission: a simple, consistent way to send the information across systems. John Sack, founding director at HighWire, co-led the initiative alongside other leading technology suppliers. He said: ‘While much conversation has focused on opening up easier access to existing knowledge, we still have work to do on streamlining how that insight is published in the first place.’ MECA’s leading participants

are HighWire, eJournalPress, Aries, Clarivate, and the Public Library of Science.

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