‘It is not the strongest species that survive,
nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.’
– Charles Darwin
It was a great learning experience for me to attend the 60th anniversary meeting of the Council of Science Editors(CSE) last month. The theme this year was ‘Setting Sail: Navigating the Future of Science Publishing’, looking at the challenges facing science editors during times of great changes in scientific publishing. The two-day program was packed with interesting sessions from peer review innovation to implementation of data policy and new industry standards. Each session started with informative talks by experts and innovators, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. For those that missed it, here are some of my top takeaways from various sessions:
Peer review innovation
How can we make the peer review process unbiased and more transparent? As the traditional peer review process is not designed to detect fraud and unfairness, innovators shared their first-hand experiences of new experiments, such as ‘results-free review’, a new model from BioMedCentral which focuses editorial decisions on the rationale and methods alone to reduce publication bias, as well as uploading preprints at PLOS to accelerate research communication.
Moreover, the discussion also covered using CME/CNE credits for reviewer recognition and publishing top reviewers on journals’ website. A start-up business ‘StatReviewer’ also caught my attention, as they offer automated statistical review on scientific publications to solve the issue of lacking statisticians in the peer review process.
Making sense of data
Why do we need a data policy? What should be included in the data policy and how should it be implemented? These were the areas covered by the speakers from Wellcome Trust, DataCite, American Geophysical Union and PLOS. Funders and governments increasingly require transparency, accessibility and (re)use of the article itself and the underlying data. Publishers and societies need to help authors comply with these data mandates by implementing a data policy to standardize data sharing, linking and citation.
Practical implementation of Standards – ORCID and CRediT
The speakers from PLOS, Cell Press and American Chemical Society addressed the two recent standards: ORCID and CRediT and talked about the practical aspects of implementation, including decisions they had to make, what resources were required, and how they encouraged people to come along. CRediT is a new initiative that aims to provide transparency in author contributions to scholarly published work, to enable improved systems of attribution, credit, and accountability. Implementing these new standards would help foster integrity in research and promote stability in publishing.
As addressed by Marcia McNutt, President of National Academy of Sciences, how do we make scientific publishing resilient and sustainable in times of changes? How should we educate the users to understand their role in the ecosystem and the impact of the choices they make? We all have a role to play to avoid broken links.