Webinar Report: eLife and the Future of Preprints

On November 4 2021, eLife, Sciety, and PREreview discussed the future of science communications with Australian researchers, as part of the Monash University Preprint events series hosted by Dr. Senthil Arumugam.
Inside eLife
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The recent changes to policy position by the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) and ARC (Australian Research Council) created significant discussion on the rise of preprint acceptance and use across multiple research disciplines. The role of preprints as a mechanism to expedite research, facilitate open research, and provide greater equity across disciplines and career stages are topics that are now being discussed by research communities across Australia, as well as across the globe.

This webinar focused on enabling participants to understand eLife’s “publish, then review” model of science communications and to learn how they can get involved. Last year, eLife announced that it was transitioning to only peer review articles that have been made available as a preprint. eLife is committed to creating a process that, as well as publishing and reviewing preprints, focuses on novel approaches to the curation of research. For this publish, review and curate (PRC) model to be embraced and make the greatest impact for the future, initiatives such as Sciety, a public preprint evaluation platform, have been created. eLife has also partnered with PREreview to aid in the training of preprint reviewers and the promotion of greater diversity in peer review.

This webinar consisted of three presentations:

Anna Akhmanova, eLife Deputy Editor, introduced eLife’s mission and the PRC model.

Hannah Drury, eLife Product Manager, presented Sciety: Enabling open review for a positive change in academic publishing.
Sciety (https://sciety.org) is a platform supporting crowd-sourced organisation of the growing preprint literature. It enables the aggregation of preprint evaluations from a number of different groups of experts alongside lists of related preprints created by those groups and individuals, building trust in the latest results while enabling contributors to have a greater impact on the wider scientific community. Users can build a custom feed that they are interested in, such as evaluations from particular groups, in order to keep track of important research developments every time they return.

Daniela Saderi, Co-Founder and Director of PREreview, presented PREreview: Empowering the next generation of peer reviewers.
PREreview
(@PREreview) is an open project fiscally sponsored by the non-profit organisation Code for Science and Society. Its mission is to bring more equity and transparency to the scholarly peer-review process. The team designs and develops open-source infrastructure to enable constructive feedback to preprints, runs peer review mentoring and training programs, and partners with like-minded organisations to arrange events that provide opportunities for researchers to create meaningful collaborations and connections, defeating cultural and geographical barriers. Learn more about PREreview at https://prereview.org.

The webinar was followed by a Q&A and discussion, moderated by Dr. Senthil Arumugam, Monash University, where participants asked how they can join and engage with preprint review and curation, in the future.

Host:

Senthil Arumugam is an EMBL Australia Group Leader at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Melbourne, Australia. His lab's research focuses on fundamental questions in intracellular trafficking using advanced fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy.

Panelists:

Anna Akhmanova has been a Deputy Editor at eLife since 2018. She is a Professor of Cell Biology at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She studied biochemistry and molecular biology at the Moscow State University, Russia, and obtained her PhD at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The main focus of the work in her group is the microtubule cytoskeleton. Akhmanova is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Hannah Drury, joined eLife in 2015, initially shepherding editors and authors through the submission and review process. She took a sideways move into product and technology in 2018 and has since been working with several cross-functional teams to build software to support scholarly peer review. She started working on Sciety in early 2020.

Daniela Saderi (@Neurosarda) is the Co-Founder and Director of PREreview, an open project with the mission to bring more equity and transparency to the evaluation of research content, giving systematically excluded researchers better ways to find, train and contribute to peer review. Daniela holds a PhD in Neuroscience from Oregon Health & Science University, US, during which she studied mechanisms of auditory processing in mammals, and she is a former Mozilla Fellow for Science 2018/2019.

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Interested in our full selection of webinars, on topics such as preprints, finding funding and more? Take a look at the collection of past reports and recordings.