Research data sharing during the Zika virus public health emergency

Authors : Vanessa de Arruda Jorge, Sarita Albagli


In a public health emergency, sharing of research data is acknowledged as essential to manage treatment and control of the disease. The objective of this study was to examine how researchers reacted during the Zika virus emergency in Brazil.


A literature review examined both unpublished reports and the published literature. Interviews were conducted with eleven researchers (from a sample of sixteen) in the Renezika network. Questions concerned sources of data used for research on the Zika virus, where this data was obtained, and what requirements by funding agencies influenced how data generated was shared – and how open the degree of sharing was.


A content analysis matrix was developed based on the results of the interviews. The data were organised acording to categories, subcategories, records units and frequency of records units.


Researchers stressed the importance of access to issue samples as well as pure research data. Collaboration – and publication – increased but also depended on trust in existing networks. Researchers were aware that many agencies and publishers required the deposit of research data in repositories – and several options existed for Zika research.


The findings show that research data were shared, but not necessarily as open data. Trust was necessary between researchers, and researchers in developing countries needed to be assured about their rights and ownership of data, and publications using that data.


Why we publish where we do: Faculty publishing values and their relationship to review, promotion and tenure expectations

Authors : Meredith T. Niles, Lesley A. Schimanski, Erin C. McKiernan, Juan Pablo Alperin

Using an online survey of academics at 55 randomly selected institutions across the US and Canada, we explore priorities for publishing decisions and their perceived importance within review, promotion, and tenure (RPT).

We find that respondents most value journal readership, while they believe their peers most value prestige and related metrics such as impact factor when submitting their work for publication.

Respondents indicated that total number of publications, number of publications per year, and journal name recognition were the most valued factors in RPT.

Older and tenured respondents (most likely to serve on RPT committees) were less likely to value journal prestige and metrics for publishing, while untenured respondents were more likely to value these factors.

These results suggest disconnects between what academics value versus what they think their peers value, and between the importance of journal prestige and metrics for tenured versus untenured faculty in publishing and RPT perceptions.

URL : Why we publish where we do: Faculty publishing values and their relationship to review, promotion and tenure expectations


International Collaboration in Open Access Publications: How Income Shapes International Collaboration

Authors : Michael Cary, Taylor Rockwell

Does the rise of open access journals change the way researchers collaborate? Specifically, since publishing in open access journals requires a publication fee, does income affect how researchers form international collaborations?

To answer this question, we create a new data set by scraping bibliographic data from Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) journals. Using the four income group classifications from the World Bank Analytical Classifications, we find that researchers from low-income nations are more likely to form international collaborations than researchers from wealthier nations.

This result is verified to be significant using a series of pairwise Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests. We then study which nations most frequently form international collaborations with other nations and find that the USA, China, Germany, and France are the most preferred nations for forming international collaborations.

While most nations prefer to form international collaborations with high-income nations, some exceptions exist, where a nation most often forms international collaborations with a nearby nation that is either an upper-middle-income or lower-middle-income nation.

We further this analysis by showing that these results are apparent across the six different research categories established in the Frascati Manual. Finally, trends in publications in MDPI journals mirror trends seen in all journals, such as the continued increase in the percentage of published papers involving international collaboration.

URL : International Collaboration in Open Access Publications: How Income Shapes International Collaboration


Preprints and Scholarly Communication: An Exploratory Qualitative Study of Adoption, Practices, Drivers and Barriers

Authors : Andrea Chiarelli, Rob Johnson, Stephen Pinfield, Emma Richens


Since 2013, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of preprint servers. Little is known about the position of researchers, funders, research performing organisations and other stakeholders with respect to this fast-paced landscape.

In this article, we explore the perceived benefits and challenges of preprint posting, alongside issues including infrastructure and financial sustainability. We also discuss the definition of a ‘preprint’ in different communities, and the impact this has on uptake.


This study is based on 38 semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders, based on a purposive heterogeneous sampling approach and undertaken between October 2018 and January 2019.

Interviewees were primarily drawn from biology, chemistry and psychology, where use of preprints is growing. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis to identify trends. Interview questions were designed based on Innovation Diffusion Theory, which was also used to interpret our results.


Participants were conscious of the rising prominence of preprints and cited early and fast dissemination as their most appealing feature. Preprints were also considered to enable broader access to scientific literature and increased opportunities for informal commenting.

The main concerns related to the lack of quality assurance and the ‘Ingelfinger rule’. We identified trust as an essential factor in preprint posting, and highlight the enabling role of Twitter in showcasing preprints.


The preprints landscape is evolving fast, and disciplinary communities are at different stages in the innovation diffusion process. The landscape is characterised by experimentation, which leads to the conclusion that a one-size-fits-all approach to preprints is not feasible.

Cooperation and active engagement between the stakeholders involved will play an important role going forward. We share questions for the further development of the preprints landscape, with the most important being whether preprint posting will develop as a publisher- or researcher-centric practice.

URL : Preprints and Scholarly Communication: An Exploratory Qualitative Study of Adoption, Practices, Drivers and Barriers


Autoréflexivité scientifique : mise en place de conditions productivistes dans la pratique de la publication scientifique

Auteur/Author : Alma Liliana Díaz-Martínez

Cet article analyse le rôle des publications dans un contexte marqué par la logique productiviste du système d’évaluation de la recherche scientifique au Mexique.

Il aborde la notion d’autoréflexivité critique à partir du concept de rationalité communicationnelle d’Habermas et étudie un corpus composé de chercheurs en sciences sociales membres du Système national de chercheurs (SNI) de l’Université nationale autonome du Mexique (Unam), en utilisant l’analyse du discours dans une perspective herméneutique.

Si les résultats confirment l’existence d’une autoréflexion critique de la part des chercheurs vis-à-vis de l’exigence institutionnelle de publication, ils montrent également à quel point cette norme a été intériorisée comme partie intégrante de la pratique scientifique.


How Many Papers Should Scientists Be Reviewing? An Analysis Using Verified Peer Review Reports

Authors : Vincent Raoult

The current peer review system is under stress from ever increasing numbers of publications, the proliferation of open-access journals and an apparent difficulty in obtaining high-quality reviews in due time. At its core, this issue may be caused by scientists insufficiently prioritising reviewing.

Perhaps this low prioritisation is due to a lack of understanding on how many reviews need to be conducted by researchers to balance the peer review process. I obtained verified peer review data from 142 journals across 12 research fields, for a total of over 300,000 reviews and over 100,000 publications, to determine an estimate of the numbers of reviews required per publication per field.

I then used this value in relation to the mean numbers of authors per publication per field to highlight a ‘review ratio’: the expected minimum number of publications an author in their field should review to balance their input (publications) into the peer review process.

On average, 3.49 ± 1.45 (SD) reviews were required for each scientific publication, and the estimated review ratio across all fields was 0.74 ± 0.46 (SD) reviews per paper published per author. Since these are conservative estimates, I recommend scientists aim to conduct at least one review per publication they produce. This should ensure that the peer review system continues to function as intended.

URL : How Many Papers Should Scientists Be Reviewing? An Analysis Using Verified Peer Review Reports


Ouverture des données de la recherche : de la vision politique aux pratiques des chercheurs

Auteur/Author : Violaine Rebouillat

Cette thèse s’intéresse aux données de la recherche, dans un contexte d’incitation croissante à leur ouverture. Les données de la recherche sont des informations collectées par les scientifiques dans la perspective d’être utilisées comme preuves d’une théorie scientifique.

Il s’agit d’une notion complexe à définir, car contextuelle. Depuis les années 2000, le libre accès aux données occupe une place de plus en plus stratégique dans les politiques de recherche. Ces enjeux ont été relayés par des professions intermédiaires, qui ont développé des services dédiés, destinés à accompagner les chercheurs dans l’application des recommandations de gestion et d’ouverture.

La thèse interroge le lien entre idéologie de l’ouverture et pratiques de recherche. Quelles formes de gestion et de partage des données existent dans les communautés de recherche et par quoi sont-elles motivées ? Quelle place les chercheurs accordent-ils à l’offre de services issue des politiques de gestion et d’ouverture des données ?

Pour tenter d’y répondre, 57 entretiens ont été réalisés avec des chercheurs de l’Université de Strasbourg dans différentes disciplines. L’enquête révèle une très grande variété de pratiques de gestion et de partage de données. Un des points mis en évidence est que, dans la logique scientifique, le partage des données répond un besoin.

Il fait partie intégrante de la stratégie du chercheur, dont l’objectif est avant tout de préserver ses intérêts professionnels. Les données s’inscrivent donc dans un cycle de crédibilité, qui leur confère à la fois une valeur d’usage (pour la production de nouvelles publications) et une valeur d’échange (en tant que monnaie d’échange dans le cadre de collaborations avec des partenaires).

L’enquête montre également que les services développés dans un contexte d’ouverture des données correspondent pour une faible partie à ceux qu’utilisent les chercheurs.

L’une des hypothèses émises est que l’offre de services arrive trop tôt pour rencontrer les besoins des chercheurs. L’évaluation et la reconnaissance des activités scientifiques étant principalement fondées sur la publication d’articles et d’ouvrages, la gestion et l’ouverture des données ne sont pas considérées comme prioritaires par les chercheurs.

La seconde hypothèse avancée est que les services d’ouverture des données sont proposés par des acteurs relativement éloignés des communautés de recherche. Les chercheurs sont davantage influencés par des réseaux spécifiques à leurs champs de recherche (revues, infrastructures…).

Ces résultats invitent finalement à reconsidérer la question de la médiation dans l’ouverture des données scientifiques.