ASAPbio: a global project to discuss the role of preprints in communicating results in the life sciences

(Source: ascb.org)

ASAPbio is a focal point for engaging the biology community in a discussion about the role that preprints could play in communicating results in the life sciences.

“The life sciences comprise the fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms – such as microorganismsplantsanimals, and human beings – as well as related considerations like bioethics. While biology remains the centerpiece of the life sciences, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of specializations and interdisciplinary fields.” (Wikipedia).

Preprints - versions of research manuscripts posted online that have not yet undergone traditional peer review - “could dramatically speed up communication within the biology community, and they could be used as interim evidence of productivity on fellowship applications—something particularly important for early career researchers, given how long it takes to get manuscripts published...

However, few biologists are using preprints right now, likely because they aren’t familiar with them and also because there are several barriers to their use”( ascb forum).

“…doing nothing is not an option. The stakes are enormous…” (Rescuing Biomedical Research).


ASAPbio

was created as a focal point for engaging the biology community in a discussion about the role that preprints could play in communicating results in the life sciences.

ASAPbio aims to remove barriers to the use of preprints in biology and not to mandate the use of preprints, to disrupt journals, or to eschew peer review.

On February 16/17, 2016, major stakeholders (junior and senior scientists, academic chairs/administrators, scientific societies, publishers, and private and public funders) met each other at HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) Headquarters to discuss how preprints can speed the pace of scientific progress for the benefit of all in the life science profession and the society (video of the meeting is archived online).

The program was intended to provoke thoughtful group analysis as well as individual reflection ( to find some common ground) about how preprints could revamp the publishing system. All attendees (physical and virtual) submitted their positive feedback on three draft statements concerning the use of preprints:

Draft statement 1: disclosing and crediting scientific work involving preprints

Draft statement 2: journal policies regarding pre-posting of articles

Draft statement 3: use of preprints in job applications and promotions

The comments of the participants suggested to move toward final versions of these declarations to be posted online for public endorsement.

ASAPbio pre-meeting web survey results from the community also indicated support for preprints: the adoption of preprints servers (e.g. server like bioRxiv, PeerJ Preprints, arXiv, F1000 Research, PLOS, figshare) is immediately feasible because they’re compatible with current systems of disseminating science.

(Survey results from ASAPbio.org; 392 responses. Full survey results can be found HERE).

ASAPbio web site will be gathering point of information over the course of the next weeks and months.

ASAPbio will continue into a new post-meeting phases

in which it will engage different stakeholders (funders, societies, graduate students, postdocs, deans, journal editors, world-wide scientific societies, foundations, etc.) in order to implement a sensible preprint system.  

(Source: asapbio.org)

“Preprints advance global knowledge and serve the public good. They should be collected, maintained and distributed by an archive that fulfills this mission” (asapbio.org).

On May 24th, 2016, representatives of funding agencies and existing preprint servers as well as junior and senior scientists met at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) to coordinate their efforts in providing a preprint service for the biology community.

Documents sent to attendees in advance of the meeting are posted below; they are open for public comments:

Meeting summary (authored by funding agency representatives)

Announcement and attendees

Agenda

Pre-meeting Documents:

1 – Defining basic objectives of a core preprint service 

2 – A preprint service supported by an international consortium of funders

3 – Implementation of the preprint service

4 – What does IT infrastructure for a next generation preprint service look like?

5 – Existing databases funded by consortiums

6 – Additional questions for possible consideration

Preprint server preferences survey – results as of 2016.05.22:

Anonymized responses (xls)

Results summary (pdf)

Stay in touch with  ASAPbio 

and accelerate scientific communication which will benefit all in the life science profession and the society.

If you are interested in ASAPbio, and want to keep informed, please subscribe with the text box on the right side of the website.

If you want to do more and help ASAPbio as an ASAPbio Ambassador (a point of contact with your academic institution, journal, agency, etc) then please sign up HERE.

If you have any news relevant to ASAP – a change in journal policies, a local event (even in the early stages of organization), a new article, etc, please leave a comment HERE.

Follow  #ASAPbio on Twitter.

Sources:

ASAPbio.org

ASAPbio 2016 Meeting

See also: 

Preprint FAQ

Different models in science communication

Articles about ASAPbio

Related contents on AIMS:

Figshare: simplify your research workflow and make it more visible!


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