Reflecting on 2022: Influencing change
Before we down tools and take a much-needed break over the upcoming holiday period, I just wanted to pause for a moment to take a look back on all that we have learned and achieved in this last year. I thought it best to start this annual tradition by reflecting back on what I wrote this time last year, to see if we really have delivered on those hopes and aspirations I (perhaps rather boldly) set back then.
At the time, I promised we would keep working hard to “realize our vision to make research openly accessible, enabling rapid access to knowledge for all” and that we would “continue working to provide a scholarly communication system that maximizes the societal benefit of research.” I think it’s fair to say we have, and indeed continue, to do just that – and plenty more besides!
Working to achieve real-world impact
For instance, we have launched new publishing Collections, Gateways and Platforms during every single month in 2022, with 85 new Collections, 17 new Gateways and 4 new Platforms including the trailblazing Open Research Africa, our early summer partnership with the National Institute for Health and Care Research and the eagerly awaited Routledge Open Research, furthering our commitment to supporting open research in new disciplines and regions. By working with such a diverse network of partners from across the scholarly ecosystem, we have reached different parts of the world in different ways. Our partnerships work to greatly expand the opportunities for researchers to publish in an open research way that meets their needs, and we are already seeing the real-world impact of this research.
Indeed, our final Platform launch of the year crystallizes this perfectly. Health Open Research is an expansion of the former Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) Open Research. This venue exemplifies our aims of allowing researchers and their peers to be able to rapidly build on findings, policymakers to have fast and full access to research to inform their decision making, and for the public to see the results of the research that they may have funded and that could affect them. We worked closely with Dr Catriona Manville, Director of Research Policy at AMRC on the expansion of the Platform and her belief in the power of open research in accelerating the real-world benefits of medical research, and the real-world examples of this remain a crucial driving force for myself and the team:
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen inspiring examples of how publishing openly helps to accelerate the real-world benefits of medical research.
This includes Marie Curie funded research, which provided evidence for the Make End of Life Care Fair campaign that secured the provision of palliative care in every part of England as a legal requirement via the Health and Care Act.”Dr Catriona Manville, Director of Research Policy, AMRC
Actively achieving real-world benefit through open research is the reason why we publish in the way that we do and the key principles that sit behind F1000 are there to help enable this kind of impact. For us at F1000, it’s not just about the delivery of numerous launches and projects that demonstrates our success (as proud of them as I and the team are!), but it’s also about the very clear influence our work is having not only on researchers themselves but also on the broader scholarly ecosystem.
Influencing policy and practice
As a mission-driven publisher, from the get-go we’ve got involved with, and spearheaded, initiatives that we believe will influence policy and practice around publishing, around research funding, and around impact of research. This year is no different. For example, we’ve been working closely with the policy teams at Taylor & Francis to input into, and help advise the communities we work with, on the various consultations and initiatives that are being led by the big funders and federal offices, such as the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia which recently revised its open access policy, the National Institutes of Health’s updated Data Management and Sharing Plan Policy and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s updated U.S. policy guidance to make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost. It is incredibly heartening to see key players within the scholarly ecosystem putting their heads above the parapet to implement programs that really will deliver positive change and ultimately improve lives, and some of the announcements in 2022 have the real potential to be game-changing for open research.
With this readily changing policy landscape, it’s important that we continue to engage with the communities we partner with to not only better appreciate the challenges and opportunities this may present to them, but also to work together on how we can support uptake of good open research practices, as well as enhance understanding of the role and value of open research. This year our engagement activities have taken us all over the world, enabling us to reach partner communities more than ever before. Examples include numerous panel discussions and workshops around crucial topics such as research integrity (e.g. the recent Westminster Forum on The next steps for research integrity and reproducibility), the Recognizing Preprint Peer Review workshop run by ASAPbio/HHMI/EMBO, to the panel discussion we organized in September, which saw thought leaders from the media and publishing debate the topic of Peer pressure: does peer review help or hinder science reporting?.
On a more practical level, we’ve revised several of our editorial policies to make sure they’re up to date and reflect the market trends. For instance, we’re one of only a handful of publishers that have launched a new editorial policy that endorses the Sex & Gender Equity in Research guidelines. These guidelines aim to address biases in the way research is conducted and reported, often excluding, or not accounting for women, trans and non-binary people, or female animals. With Routledge Open Research, we were the first publisher to release an open data policy specifically for humanities and social science authors. We also co-chaired a subgroup of the STM Association’s Research Data Program which was particularly focused on humanities data sharing. We ran a survey earlier this year, and were invited by the team at Digital Science to write up our initial findings for a chapter in this year’s State of Open Data Report. The report provides insights into researchers’ attitudes towards and experiences of open data. With more than 5,400 respondents, the 2022 survey is the largest since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
If all of the above wasn’t quite enough, I’m thrilled to say that we’ve reached quite a few milestones this year too! We celebrated the publication of the 5,000th article on F1000Research back in March. We’re so grateful to all of our authors who helped us achieve this and for their commitment to supporting open research. The Digital Twin publishing Platform was successfully selected into the Excellence Action Plan for China’s STM Journals by the Chinese Government. This selection signifies the Digital Twin Platform as a high-quality Chinese publishing venue, publishing research for scientists, scholars, and clinicians. It’s also been fantastic to see several more of our Platforms get indexed in major databases and achieve recognition in countries that we wouldn’t have traditionally been recognized in. This year alone, Open Research Europe was accepted for indexation in Scopus, Inspec and ERIH PLUS. This was very closely followed by MedEdPublish which was accepted for indexing in PubMed, and HRB Open Research is now indexed in Scopus, all benefitting from ever further discoverability and readership.
I love looking back at the year and all that my incredible colleagues here at F1000 have achieved – it certainly reenergizes me for the new year! Excitingly, 2023 marks the 10-year anniversary for F1000. We look forward to celebrating this significant moment in F1000’s history, so watch this space. I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years will bring!