Enabling preprint discovery, evaluation, and analysis with Europe PMC

Authors : Mariia Levchenko, Michael Parkin, Johanna McEntyre, Melissa Harrison

Preprints provide an indispensable tool for rapid and open communication of early research findings. Preprints can also be revised and improved based on scientific commentary uncoupled from journal-organised peer review. The uptake of preprints in the life sciences has increased significantly in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when immediate access to research findings became crucial to address the global health emergency.

With ongoing expansion of new preprint servers, improving discoverability of preprints is a necessary step to facilitate wider sharing of the science reported in preprints. To address the challenges of preprint visibility and reuse, Europe PMC, an open database of life science literature, began indexing preprint abstracts and metadata from several platforms in July 2018. Since then, Europe PMC has continued to increase coverage through addition of new servers, and expanded its preprint initiative to include the full text of preprints related to COVID-19 in July 2020 and then the full text of preprints supported by the Europe PMC funder consortium in April 2022.

The preprint collection can be searched via the website and programmatically, with abstracts and the open access full text of COVID-19 and Europe PMC funder preprint subsets available for bulk download in a standard machine-readable JATS XML format. This enables automated information extraction for large-scale analyses of the preprint corpus, accelerating scientific research of the preprint literature itself.

This publication describes steps taken to build trust, improve discoverability, and support reuse of life science preprints in Europe PMC. Here we discuss the benefits of indexing preprints alongside peer-reviewed publications, and challenges associated with this process.

URL : Enabling preprint discovery, evaluation, and analysis with Europe PMC

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1101/2024.04.19.590240

Re-use of research data in the social sciences. Use and users of digital data archive

Authors : Elina LateI, Michael Ochsner

The aim of this paper is to investigate the re-use of research data deposited in digital data archive in the social sciences. The study examines the quantity, type, and purpose of data downloads by analyzing enriched user log data collected from Swiss data archive. The findings show that quantitative datasets are downloaded increasingly from the digital archive and that downloads focus heavily on a small share of the datasets.

The most frequently downloaded datasets are survey datasets collected by research organizations offering possibilities for longitudinal studies. Users typically download only one dataset, but a group of heavy downloaders form a remarkable share of all downloads. The main user group downloading data from the archive are students who use the data in their studies. Furthermore, datasets downloaded for research purposes often, but not always, serve to be used in scholarly publications.

Enriched log data from data archives offer an interesting macro level perspective on the use and users of the services and help understanding the increasing role of repositories in the social sciences. The study provides insights into the potential of collecting and using log data for studying and evaluating data archive use.

URL : Re-use of research data in the social sciences. Use and users of digital data archive

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0303190

Research Data Management in the Croatian Academic Community: A Research Study

Author : Radovan Vrana

This paper presents the results of an empirical research study of Croatian scientists’ use and management of research data. This research study was carried out from 28 June 2023 until 31 August 2023 using an online questionnaire consisting of 28 questions. The answers of 584 respondents working in science were filtered out for further analysis. About three-quarters of the respondents used the research data of other scientists successfully. Research data were mostly acquired from colleagues from the same department or institution.

Roughly half of the respondents did not ask other scientists directly for their research data. Research data are important to the respondents mostly for raising the quality of research. Repeating someone else’s research by using their research data is still a problem. Less than one-third of the respondents provided full access to their research data mostly due to their fear of misuse.

The benefits of research data sharing were recognized but few of the respondents received any reward for it. Archiving research data is a significant problem for the respondents as they dominantly use their own computers prone to failure for that activity and do not think about long-term preservation. Finally, the respondents lacked deeper knowledge of research data management.

URL : Research Data Management in the Croatian Academic Community: A Research Study

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/publications12020016

Research Data Management in the Humanities: Challenges and Opportunities in the Canadian Context

Authors : Stefan Higgins, Lisa Goddard, Shahira Khair

In recent years, research funders across the world have implemented mandates for research data management (RDM) that introduce new obligations for researchers seeking funding. Although data work is not new in the humanities, digital research infrastructures, best practices, and the development of highly qualified personnel to support humanist researchers are all still nascent.

Responding to these changes, this article offers four contributions to how humanists can consider the role of “data” in their research and succeed in its management. First, we define RDM and data management plans (DMP) and raise some exigent questions regarding their development and maintenance.

Second, acknowledging the unsettled status of “data” in the humanities, we offer some conceptual explanations of what data are, and gesture to some ways in which humanists are already (and have always been) engaged in data work.

Third, we argue that data work requires conscious design—attention to how data are produced—and that thinking of data work as involving design (e.g., experimental and interpretive work) can help humanists engage more fruitfully in RDM.

Fourth, we argue that RDM (and data work, generally) is labour that requires compensation in the form of funding, support, and tools, as well as accreditation and recognition that incentivizes researchers to make RDM an integral part of their research.

Finally, we offer a set of concrete recommendations to support humanist RDM in the Canadian context.

URL : Research Data Management in the Humanities: Challenges and Opportunities in the Canadian Context

DOI : https://doi.org/10.16995/dscn.9956

Distinguishing articles in questionable and non-questionable journals using quantitative indicators associated with quality

Author : Dimity Stephen

This study investigates the viability of distinguishing articles in questionable journals (QJs) from those in non-QJs on the basis of quantitative indicators typically associated with quality. Subsequently, I examine what can be deduced about the quality of articles in QJs based on the differences observed.

I contrast the length of abstracts and full-texts, prevalence of spelling errors, text readability, number of references and citations, the size and internationality of the author team, the documentation of ethics and informed consent statements, and the presence erroneous decisions based on statistical errors in 1,714 articles from 31 QJs, 1,691 articles from 16 journals indexed in Web of Science (WoS), and 1,900 articles from 45 mid-tier journals, all in the field of psychology.

The results suggest that QJ articles do diverge from the disciplinary standards set by peer-reviewed journals in psychology on quantitative indicators of quality that tend to reflect the effect of peer review and editorial processes. However, mid-tier and WoS journals are also affected by potential quality concerns, such as under-reporting of ethics and informed consent processes and the presence of errors in interpreting statistics. Further research is required to develop a comprehensive understanding of the quality of articles in QJs.

Arxiv : https://arxiv.org/abs/2405.06308

Beyond borders: Examining the role of national learned societies in the social sciences and humanities

Authors : Elina LateRaf GunsJanne PölönenJadranka StojanovskiMimi UrbancMichael Ochsner

The aim of this paper is to examine the status of national learned societies in social sciences and humanities (SSH) in Europe. Previous research shows that learned societies serve diverse roles in higher education and suggests that national societies come under pressure given different developments, such as internationalization or open science adoption.

We investigate a comprehensive range of aspects within national learned societies: primary goals, activities, internationalization, organization, funding, membership, and recent changes, addressing potential pressures arising from them. Using a cross-national survey involving 194 learned societies across eight European countries, we study: (a) do the previous findings from individual countries or small selections of national societies hold for a broad range of learned societies in SSH across Europe, and (b) are national learned societies coming under pressure due to internationalization and commercialization processes?

Our findings confirm previous results from single countries and single disciplines and expand them as our results show that national learned societies in SSH play an important role in Europe in promoting multilingualism in science, collaborating with many stakeholders, and fostering interdisciplinarity. Contrary to previous research, most SSH societies in our study have not undergone significant changes in the past 5 years, challenging expectations of their declining role.

URL : Beyond borders: Examining the role of national learned societies in the social sciences and humanities

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1609