Webinar Report: Micropublications, Open Collaboration and Reducing Intellectual Waste in Science

Our speaker delves into the barriers to the true aim of research- to discover and advance knowledge, and how achieving this depends on global and inclusive structures for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Is the current model of research sharing working for you? Why is true research collaboration so rare? How much research waste could be avoided through new research sharing and collaboration models?

In this eLife Ambassadors event, our speaker Lana Sinapayen Ph.D, had the opportunity to discuss these crucial questions as we move into a new era of research communication.

Dr Sinapayen began by introducing the current contemporary research model to the audience of eLife Ambassador and Open Science Champion early-career researchers. Starting from the history of science publishing and communication in Europe and the UK, focusing on how science has been shared from the 17th century to the modern day, and giving context to why we structure our research communication the way we do.

The research process involves the generation of the research question, completing a literature review, then designing the experiments to answer the question, collecting and analysing the data, and finally writing and publishing a paper to share the research findings. This in turn brings about collaboration, as a new research question is generated by other researchers. However, in the reality of modern research environments across the globe, we know that we enter the model from various different stages. This can cause problems to modern-day researchers, such as when and how to optimally share your research findings.

With the development of the internet and other technologies we can share knowledge faster and more efficiently than ever before, and yet, in the current research model, we are not. Lana discusses the point that without constant sharing, how can we hope to collaborate and progress research as rapidly and efficiently as possible? How can we stop research waste due to our currently outdated research model, where research findings are not shared until years after completion, and often from only one lab's perspective?

She lists some obvious issues with the contemporary research model below. Each with a solution, as well as a carefully thought-out criticism or obstacle to the proposed solution.

Dr. Sinapayen then delves into the solutions that individuals and organisations have recently proposed with the aim to help create a structure that works for both scientists and science. Dr. Sinapayen reiterates that these are all experimental solutions and that we don't have one widely accepted solution.

1. Preprints and open reviewing:
a. eLife’s Public Review and Open Review model
b. Open Review

2. Maximal Review:
a. Behavioural and Brain Sciences (BBS)

3. Minimal Reviews:
a. Plaudit

3. Micropublications:
a. The Journal of Brief Ideas
b. Open Science, modular research publishing:
- i. Research Equals
- ii. Mimosa

Lana explains the importance of ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) and then demonstrates Mimosa – an open science micropublication platform that she is the creator of. She describes how she built it to prioritise collaborative science and designed the platform to have open data, open contributions and feedback and with open-source code – whereby you can run your own version of Mimosa through modifying the code of the prototype (again mirroring Lana’s open science and collaborative mission). The main concept is to publish-as-you-go, and therefore be able to get feedback and find collaborators easily and rapidly. Lana ends the platform demonstration with the quote that ‘Science is a discussion’ and enables the attendees to question their view of the current state of research sharing and how they can be a part of an alternative structure.

“Mimosa aspires to be that free, open-collaborative online platform created and maintained by a community of volunteer contributors dedicated to original research”.

The webinar was followed by a Q&A and discussion, moderated by eLife Community Manager Ailís O’Carroll, where participants asked how they can get involved and how to drive this shift in research publishing from both a bottom-up and top-down approach.

Our speaker:

Lana Sinapayen, PhD (she/her) - is an Artificial Life and Artificial Intelligence researcher at Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Japan. Lana is the creator of the open science micro-publication platform, Mimosa, and a member of the newly created Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee of the ALife community. Lana’s priority is to foster greater collaboration, by exploring initiatives for reciprocal mentoring and skill-sharing, beyond laboratories’ artificial limits and competition-based thinking. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Artificial Life and is involved in outreach and equity for the International Society for Artificial Life. She is also a member of our eLife Early Career Advisory Group.

Mimosa will go public very soon. Contact Lana at lana.sinapayen@gmail.com to become a beta tester for Mimosa.


We welcome comments, questions and feedback. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.

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.