Reproducible research practices, openness and transparency in health economic evaluations: study protocol for a cross-sectional comparative analysis

Authors : Ferrán Catalá-López, Lisa Caulley, Manuel Ridao, Brian Hutton, Don Husereau, Michael F Drummond, Adolfo Alonso-Arroyo, Manuel Pardo-Fernández, Enrique Bernal-Delgado, Ricard Meneu, Rafael Tabarés-Seisdedos, José Ramón Repullo, David Moher

Introduction

There has been a growing awareness of the need for rigorously and transparent reported health research, to ensure the reproducibility of studies by future researchers.

Health economic evaluations, the comparative analysis of alternative interventions in terms of their costs and consequences, have been promoted as an important tool to inform decision-making.

The objective of this study will be to investigate the extent to which articles of economic evaluations of healthcare interventions indexed in MEDLINE incorporate research practices that promote transparency, openness and reproducibility.

Methods and analysis

This is the study protocol for a cross-sectional comparative analysis. We registered the study protocol within the Open Science Framework (osf.io/gzaxr). We will evaluate a random sample of 600 cost-effectiveness analysis publications, a specific form of health economic evaluations, indexed in MEDLINE during 2012 (n=200), 2019 (n=200) and 2022 (n=200).

We will include published papers written in English reporting an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio in terms of costs per life years gained, quality-adjusted life years and/or disability-adjusted life years. Screening and selection of articles will be conducted by at least two researchers.

Reproducible research practices, openness and transparency in each article will be extracted using a standardised data extraction form by multiple researchers, with a 33% random sample (n=200) extracted in duplicate.

Information on general, methodological and reproducibility items will be reported, stratified by year, citation of the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) statement and journal. Risk ratios with 95% CIs will be calculated to represent changes in reporting between 2012–2019 and 2019–2022.

Ethics and dissemination

Due to the nature of the proposed study, no ethical approval will be required. All data will be deposited in a cross-disciplinary public repository.

It is anticipated the study findings could be relevant to a variety of audiences. Study findings will be disseminated at scientific conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.

URL : Reproducible research practices, openness and transparency in health economic evaluations: study protocol for a cross-sectional comparative analysis

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034463

Open or Ajar? Openness within the Neoliberal Academy

Authors : Kevin Sanders, Simon Bowie

The terms ‘open’ and ‘openness’ are widely used across the current higher education environment particularly in the areas of repository services and scholarly communications.

Open-access licensing and open-source licensing are two prevalent manifestations of open culture within higher education research environments. As theoretical ideals, open-licensing models aim at openness and academic freedom.

But operating as they do within the context of global neoliberalism, to what extent are these models constructed by, sustained by, and co-opted by neoliberalism?

In this paper, we interrogate the use of open-licensing within scholarly communications and within the larger societal context of neoliberalism. Through synthesis of various sources, we will examine how open access licensing models have been constrained by neoliberal or otherwise corporate agendas, how open access and open scholarship have been reframed within discourses of compliance, how open-source software models and software are co-opted by politico-economic forces, and how the language of ‘openness’ is widely misused in higher education and repository services circles to drive agendas that run counter to actually increasing openness.

We will finish by suggesting ways to resist this trend and use open-licensing models to resist neoliberal agendas in open scholarship.

URL : Open or Ajar? Openness within the Neoliberal Academy

Original location : https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202001.0240/v1

Open forensic science

Authors : Jason M Chin, Gianni Ribeiro, Alicia Rairden

The mainstream sciences are experiencing a revolution of methodology. This revolution was inspired, in part, by the realization that a surprising number of findings in the bioscientific literature could not be replicated or reproduced by independent laboratories.

In response, scientific norms and practices are rapidly moving towards openness. These reforms promise many enhancements to the scientific process, notably improved efficiency and reliability of findings. Changes are also underway in the forensic.

After years of legal-scientific criticism and several reports from peak scientific bodies, efforts are underway to establish the validity of several forensic practices and ensure forensic scientists perform and present their work in a scientifically valid way.

In this article, the authors suggest that open science reforms are distinctively suited to addressing the problems faced by forensic science. Openness comports with legal and criminal justice values, helping ensure expert forensic evidence is more reliable and susceptible to rational evaluation by the trier of fact.

In short, open forensic science allows parties in legal proceedings to understand and assess the strength of the case against them, resulting in fairer outcomes. Moreover, several emerging open science initiatives allow for speedier and more collaborative research.

URL : Open forensic science

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1093/jlb/lsz009

‘Is the library open?’: Correlating unaffiliated access to academic libraries with open access support

Authors: Katie Wilson, Cameron Neylon, Chloe Brookes-Kenworthy, Richard Hosking, Chun-Kai (Karl) Huang, Lucy Montgomery, Alkim Ozaygen

In the context of a growing international focus on open access publishing options and mandates, this paper explores the extent to which the ideals of ‘openness’ are also being applied to physical knowledge resources and research spaces.

This study, which forms part of the larger Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative project, investigates the relationship between academic library access policies and institutional positions on open access or open science publishing.

Analysis of library access policies and related documents from twenty academic institutions in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Africa and the United Kingdom shows that physical access to libraries for members of the public who are not affiliated with a university is often the most restricted category of access. Many libraries impose financial and sometimes security barriers on entry to buildings, limiting access to collections in print and other non-digital formats.

The limits placed on physical access to libraries contrast strongly with the central role that these institutions play in facilitating open access in digital form for research outputs through institutional repositories and open access publishing policies.

We compared library access policies and practices with open access publishing and research sharing policies for the same institutions and found limited correlation between both sets of policies.

Comparing the two assessments using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient confirmed open access policies have a direct association with the narrow aspects of public access provided through online availability of formal publications, but are not necessarily associated (in the universities in this study) with delivering on a broader commitment to public access to knowledge.

The results suggest that while institutional mission statements and academic library policies may refer to sharing of knowledge and research and community collaboration, multiple layers of library user categories, levels of privilege and fees charged can inhibit the realisation of these goals.

As open access publishing options and mandates expand, physical entry to academic libraries and access to print and electronic resources has contracted. This varies within and across countries, but it conflicts with global library and information commitments to open access to knowledge.

URL : ‘Is the library open?’: Correlating unaffiliated access to academic libraries with open access support

DOI : http://doi.org/10.18352/lq.10298

Public Microbial Resource Centers: Key Hubs for Findable,Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) Microorganismsand Genetic Materials

Authors : P. Becker, M. Bosschaerts, P. Chaerle, H.-M. Daniel, A. Hellemans, A. Olbrechts, L. Rigouts, A. Wilmotte, M. Hendrickx

In the context of open science, the availability of research materials is essential for knowledge accumulation and to maximize the impact of scientific research. In microbiology, microbial domain biological resource centers (mBRCs) have long-standing experience in preserving and distributing authenticated microbial strains and genetic materials (e.g., recombinant plasmids and DNA libraries) to support new discoveries and follow-on studies.

These culture collections play a central role in the conservation of microbial biodiversity and have expertise in cultivation, characterization, and taxonomy of microorganisms. Information associated with preserved biological resources is recorded in databases and is accessible through online catalogues.

Legal expertise developed by mBRCs guarantees end users the traceability and legality of the acquired material, notably with respect to the Nagoya Protocol. However, awareness of the advantages of depositing biological materials in professional repositories remains low, and the necessity of securing strains and genetic resources for future research must be emphasized.

This review describes the unique position of mBRCs in microbiology and molecular biology through their history, evolving roles, expertise, services, challenges, and international collaborations. It also calls for an increased deposit of strains and genetic resources, a responsibility shared by scientists, funding agencies, and publishers.

Journal policies requesting a deposit during submission of a manuscript represent one of the measures to make more biological materials available to the broader community, hence fully releasing their potential and improving openness and reproducibility in scientific research.

URL : https://orbi.uliege.be/bitstream/2268/240381/1/Applied%20and%20Environmental%20Microbiology-2019-Becker-e01444-19.full-1.pdf

The case for openness in engineering research

Authors : Devin R. Berg, Kyle E. Niemeyer

In this article, we describe our views on the benefits, and possible downsides, of openness in engineering research. We attempt to examine the issue from multiple perspectives, including reasons and motivations for introducing open practices into an engineering researcher’s workflow and the challenges faced by scholars looking to do so.

Further, we present our thoughts and reflections on the role that open engineering research can play in defining the purpose and activities of the university.

We have made some specific recommendations on how the public university can recommit to and push the boundaries of its role as the creator and promoter of public knowledge.

In doing so, the university will further demonstrate its vital role in the continued economic, social, and technological development of society. We have also included some thoughts on how this applies specifically to the field of engineering and how a culture of openness and sharing within the engineering community can help drive societal development.

URL : The case for openness in engineering research

DOI : https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.14593.2

Animal Research, Accountability, Openness and Public Engagement: Report from an International Expert Forum

Authors : Elisabeth H. Ormandy, Daniel M.Weary, Katarina Cvek, Mark Fisher, Kathrin Herrmann, Pru Hobson-West, Michael McDonald, William Milsom, Margaret Rose, Andrew Rowan, Joanne Zurlo, Marina A.G. von Keyserlingk

The issues of openness, transparency and public engagement about animal research have taken focus in several different countries in recent years. This paper gives an account of a two-day-long expert forum that brought together policy experts and academics from Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The aim was to share current governance practices regarding openness and transparency of animal research and to brainstorm ideas for better public engagement.

The facilitated conversations were transcribed and analysed to create this report and recommendations that encourage international policy-makers and other stakeholders to engage in genuine dialogue about the use of animals in research.

URL : Animal Research, Accountability, Openness and Public Engagement: Report from an International Expert Forum

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090622