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Steps towards transparency in research publishing

Nature

As research and editorial processes become increasingly open, scientists and editors need to be proactive but also alert to risks.

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[...] The examples given here relate to initiatives by the Nature Research journals, some of which follow pioneering work by other publishers. [...] One such initiative is the checklist introduced by Nature and the Nature journals in 2013 for life-sciences submissions. [...] Malcolm Macleod of the University of Edinburgh, UK, and his colleagues [..] looked at the completeness of reporting in journals following the initiatives.

Five steps to transparency. Credit to Macleod and his colleagues: there were no fewer than five welcome types of transparency in this project itself. These embody a gradual trend in which the public release of research results is moving farther away from the traditional form of a single, wrap-up publication.
First, the authors published a formal research protocol in a peer-reviewed journal [...]. Such publications are a mechanism, already established in clinical and other interventions research, by which authors ensure that their research is well designed. [...]
Second, the authors posted the final draft paper describing their conclusions on a preprint server before submission
Third and fourth, the group released the data-analysis plan and the analysis code before data collection was completed. [...]
Fifth, the complete data set was publicly deposited on Figshare [...]
This is an example of the research process being disaggregated, publicly, into its components: peer-reviewed research design, a preprint of outcomes that invites community responses, the release of code and data, and final publication. Such a practice allows greater access to the thinking behind a project. It also provides an opportunity to directly distribute credit to the authors for their efforts on the various components. [...]


Nature, Vol. 549, No. 7673. (26 September 2017), pp. 431-431, https://doi.org/10.1038/549431a 
Key: INRMM:14439938

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