The theme for this year’s Open Access Week — “Open in order to …” — caught our attention in the eLife office. We took the opportunity to explore how the community is innovating on ‘open’ across the research ecosystem. The resulting series of eLife Labs blog posts showcased projects that demonstrate the value of openness and transparency:
Open in order to research reproducibly
Brett Beaulieu-Jones and Casey Greene explained how they have incorporated key principles for reproducible software development into their research. This continuous analysis approach enables them to examine changes in outputs as source code and data are updated or amended, with the benefit that every step is tracked and attributable. Not only does this ensure their research is transparent, it also improves their own efficiency.
Open in order to reuse research data
In collaboration with Open Knowledge International (OKI), we investigated the reusability of datasets shared with eLife using OKI’s Goodtables validator tool. We found that these datasets are mainly structured for humans to read rather than machines. Machine readability is important for large-scale reuse of open research data, so we learned it may be useful to help researchers to share machine-readable data in addition to the human-friendly version.
Open in order to share and get feedback
Daniela Saderi and Samantha Hindle introduced PREreview.org, a new platform through which to share reviews of preprints, and which includes resources to help run preprint journal clubs at institutions. They hope this initiative will help to involve more researchers in peer review, stimulate discussion around preprints, and ultimately encourage greater adoption of preprints in biology through providing useful feedback to authors before the version-of-record publication.
Open in order to understand the context of metrics
Madeleine Watson explained the importance of transparency in data underlying scholarly metrics, specifically regarding the provenance and context of non-traditional citations. The Crossref Event Data stream is built with transparency in mind and can be used by the community as a data source for new services. Publishers can benefit from such services by ensuring their content is captured in the Crossref Event Data stream.
Open in order to help researchers succeed
We also highlighted a Feature Article summarising evidence of how open science brings significant benefits to researchers (Mckiernan et al., 2016). Key steps scientists can take to research more openly include:
This blogpost is cross-posted on Inside eLife.