Isabella Ruffatti

Clockwise from top left: workshop participants prioritise options; Andrea Powell of STM asks a question; the author and workshop co-chair Christine Tully give feedback; Mike Taylor, Toby Green and Pippa Smart take audience questions; Sameer Puri, CEO at SPUR Infosolutions, joins the event from India

of The Lancet Psychiatry. An audience poll was taken, and the winner would be whichever side moved more votes into its column subsequent to another final poll. The ‘pro’ team mentioned highly-cited but later retracted papers, such as the flawed study linking the MMR vaccine to autism; a weak correlation between citations and Impact Factor; and an increasing emphasis on preprint servers to disseminate early research. The ‘con’ team touched on definitions of quality and quality assurance. Smart emphasised the role of peer review, editorial judgement, and the mission and vision of a journal in filtering content. Ultimately, the ‘pro’ team moved the needle the farthest, shifting more votes, unhindered by Rick’s strict time-keeping and their failure to ‘edit for length’, as Boyce joked. With regard to the many other informative

sessions, I’ll steal some organisational structure from Mark Allin’s brief summary, focusing on ‘reasons to be concerned’ and ‘reasons to be optimistic’, bearing in mind, of course, that each speaker touched upon challenges and solutions. In the concern column, new open access funder mandates like Plan S challenge societies. Tasha Mellins-Cohen provided background

and rationale around the Microbiology Society’s selection of open and alternative models based upon data across their journals portfolio. Researchers from the Global South continue to struggle for access to content and opportunities to publish. | @researchinfo

Solomon Derese, presenting remotely from his office 4,237 miles away at the University of Nairobi, detailed the impact of Research4Life on access to e-resources in Africa. Derese explained the incredible impact that access to 85,000 journals through Research4Life has had on African researchers, including an overall increase in research output--doubling Africa’s share of world publication between 2005 and 2016. Women continue to be underrepresented in peer review and in publishing overall. Laura Fogg-Rogers of the University of West England presented suggestions for improvement, including the success of the Athena SWAN Charter program, and tackling structural barriers in peer review. Finally, our impact measurements are inadequate and oversimplified, leading to perverse incentives, as recounted by Sabine Hossenfelder of the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies. She argued instead for customisable measures via a tool called Scimeter.

On the side for optimism, there is new

promise around fair data and reproducibility. Rebecca Grant from Springer Nature noted the steady growth in researchers sharing their data. Currently, 119 organisations endorse FAIR data principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable). Elsevier’s Catriona Fennell presented a Manifesto for Reproducible Science, advocating investment in diverse and innovative journals, new article types that

provide a reward for sharing data and software, inviting replication studies in mainstream journals, and using the CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy). Artificial intelligence may finally

be showing promise in scholarly communications, according to Olly Rickard of HighWire, including advancements in machine learning, natural language processing, and speech recognition. Diving in deeper, Michael Upshall from UNSILO addressed the thus far limited uptake of AI in publishing, advising publishers to start with a business case, choose the most appropriate tool, identify metrics, and seek advice on how to use and evaluate, including checking for bias.

Harnessing the creativity of the attendees and the wide-ranging perspectives of the speakers – from so many researchers in particular, made the event both energising and informative. By providing a forum to explore ideas as researchers and readers – and many roles in between – Researcher to Reader met my high expectations and then some. Now, with so much riding on efficient and accurate research results, from the health and safety of our essential workers and those they care for to our own individual health, we must continue to support the research lifecycle through future gatherings either online or in person.

Heather Staines is head Of partnerships at Knowledge Futures Group

June/July 2020 Research Information


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