Debate erupts over plan to create another online destination for biology preprints

first_imgPublishing their papers in journals, such as these lining a library’s shelves, is still the goal of most biologists, but more and more are depositing early versions, or preprints, in online repositories. A plan to create a new repository for biomedical and biology preprints has earned the endorsement of nearly a dozen major science funders, including government agencies, major foundations, and research charities. But it also has sparked a debate about whether an existing preprint repository, bioRxiv.org, should be the natural home for such material.Although it has no confirmed funding for the effort, the nonprofit group ASAPbio today announced a request for applications to build what it calls a “Central Service” for preprints (papers that have not yet been accepted by a journal or undergone peer review).  Together with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the European Research Council, the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Wellcome Trust research charities, and other science funders, ASAPbio released a consensus set of principles and requirements for the proposed repository. For example, the repository must have a scientist-led independent governing board, the groups say, and be free for those submitting and reading preprints. Jessica Polka, director of ASAPbio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says that last suggestion could ultimately be the decision if bioRxiv’s founders respond to the call for applications. “bioRxiv is providing a great service to the scientific community,” she wrote in an email to ScienceInsider. “bioRxiv could either respond individually or as part of a consortium to potentially become the central service.”One goal of the new repository is to have preprints in a more easily read, and searchable, format than the typical PDF submitted to bioRxiv.org and its competitors. Polka envisions creating a software program that would convert standard word-processing program files into more computer-friendly online content. That’s a laudable plan, if a recent twitter survey is any indication. Two-thirds of the 266 respondents said they wanted bioRxiv.org preprints in a non-PDF format more easily readable on a phone. No need for this: we have bioRxiv. Discovery is easy. It’s on bioRxiv. https://t.co/70e2OJMMZD— Nick Loman (@pathogenomenick) February 13, 2017 Sergei25/shutterstock The Central Service is meant to be an aggregator from the different preprint sites that have arisen over the past few years. For example, some biology preprints get submitted to arXiv.org, the long-established site that caters more to the physical sciences, whereas others go to sites such as PeerJ. And ASAPbio notes that many prominent publishers are considering their own preprint sites. “Preprint entities in biology are more likely to expand rather than collapse into one source,” it concludes in a blog post about the potential benefits of an aggregator such as the Central Service.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Yet bioRxiv.org, launched in 2013 with backing from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, has grown considerably in popularity and many of its fans took to Twitter to question the purpose of the proposed Central Service. Do you want BioRxiv articles to be available in formats beside PDF (eg HTML) to make them readable on a phone?— Torsten Seemann (@torstenseemann) February 12, 2017center_img Totally agree. Not sure why we’re discussing the creation of a central preprint repository when we already have one. https://t.co/o9GLdrKIfb— Daniel MacArthur (@dgmacarthur) February 13, 2017 There is no need to reinvent wheel. BioRxiv exists…and *fully* and *completely* meets needs of field. @pathogenomenick @NatureNews— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) February 13, 2017 Debate erupts over plan to create another online destination for biology preprints we should just put our resources behind @biorxivpreprint and hit the ground running https://t.co/RIWVfivzNo— Alexander Arguello (@NeuroMinded) February 13, 2017 By John TravisFeb. 13, 2017 , 4:45 PMlast_img

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