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Regulations, guidelines and other institutional frameworks

New editorials provide updated guidance to authors submitting to the British Journal of Pharmacology
- 17 Apr 2018

New editorials published in the British Journal of Pharmacology provide guidance for authors of papers submitted to the journal, with guidance on how to design and conduct experiments as well as what key information should be provided in methodology and presentation of data. The aim is to improve replication and provide greater confidence for readers that the research is sound and of high quality. All of the editorials are freely accessible.

The Design&Analysis Update follows guidance published in 2015, with simplifications for ease of understanding to make it more straightforward for peer reviewers to check compliance and to facilitate the curation of the journal's efforts to improve standards. The objective is to aid with manuscript preparation and help peer review become more consistent and transparent, generating research articles whose data are more likely to be reproducible. The authors will revisit the guidance in 2020 but will also conduct six-monthly audits to monitor its effects, and introduce new guidance as appropriate.

To further improve reproducibility of research findings, the British Journal of Pharmacology has examined two aspects of data reporting that are the subject of intense debate: (1) the extent to which raw data should be made accessible to readers and (2) the format for presenting the data in a way that reveals qualities of the datasets that underpin the validity of authors' conclusions. The authors provide approaches to data presentation that support transparency recommending scatter plots for presentation where possible.

Finally, the reproducibility of preclinical investigations is inevitably hindered by inadequate transparency regarding methodologies employed. The British Journal of Pharmacology has long since recognised the need for full disclosure and this is reflected by no word count restrictions on methods enabling description in sufficient detail, specifically of tools, cells, animals, instruments, and conditions. The third editorial specifically provides a checklist for authors, reviewers, and editors regarding guidelines for immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. These are used to assess changes in protein expression and serve as primary methodologies for the detection and quantification of molecular signalling pathways and the identification of therapeutic targets.

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Libraries reject Taylor&Francis' new policy of locking content
- 16 Feb 2018

More than hundred and ten libraries have signed an open letter to Taylor&Francis rejecting their new policy of locking content more than 20 years old behind a 'moving wall'.

This means that academic research which was previously available to universities as part of the Taylor&Francis 'big deal' will now have to be purchased as a separate package. As the new 20 year 'moving wall' moves each year, the volume and cost of this material will increase.

As the open letter states 'diminishing this coverage is opportunistic and potentially profiteering within a sector which is recognised to enjoy substantial profit margins as it greatly monetises the outputs and inputs of publicly-funded research'.

A copy of the letter is available at https://www.sconul.ac.uk/page/open-letter-to-the-management-of-the-publisher-taylor-francis.

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Taylor&Francis announces new data sharing policies opening up the research lifecycle
- 14 Feb 2018

Academic publisher Taylor&Francis has introduced a suite of new data sharing policies to drive open scholarship forwards and help the research communities achieve their goals.

Data is a key research output, therefore sharing it presents a multitude of opportunities for research and researchers. The new policies aim to promote increased sharing of data to improve the robustness of the entire research process, supporting transparency, reproducibility, and replicability of results.

Data citation capabilities will be introduced, enabling researchers to get and give credit for their valuable data findings. Where authors share data, they will be required to include a data availability statement, which will improve the discoverability of their research. The new policies range from encouraging data sharing to making data open with a license, offering flexibility while ensuring the needs of different fields and disciplines are met.

A basic policy encouraging data sharing will be applied to all titles owned by Taylor&Francis, with an aim to move many journals to more progressive data sharing policies during 2018 following consultation with partners.

At the start of this year, the open scholarship options for Taylor&Francis authors were further increased with the launch of Big Earth Data, a journal that uses open data to advance discoveries in Earth Science. Last month, Taylor&Francis also announced a new partnership with Code Ocean, enabling researchers to share and run code to generate data simulations.

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Committee on Publication Ethics announces changes to its Code of Conduct and new policy on expulsions
- 30 Nov 2017

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) recently announced changes to its Code of Conduct as well as a new policy on sanctions against member journal editors and publishers that do not follow their 'principles.'

Until recently, members of COPE agreed to adhere to their Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors (and Publishers). Members also agree to follow the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

Both of these documents provide very helpful advice on how to organise and run a professional journal. The Code of Conduct includes 'must do' items for members as well as 'aspirational' suggested best practices. Two weeks ago, the Code of Conduct was replaced with the new 'Core Practices.'

In announcing the Core Practices, COPE explained that the Code of Conduct carried a legal connotation, which was not intended. Also, COPE recognised that some items were extremely specific (e.g., "Editors should follow the procedure set out in the COPE flowchart on complaints") while others were very open to interpretation (e.g., "Editors should strive to ensure that peer review at their journal is fair, unbiased and timely"). There are also elements of the code that are not relevant at all journals (e.g. "Editors should have a written contract(s) setting out their relationship with the journal's owner and/or publisher").

The new Core Practices contain 10 categories from the Code. There is a brief paragraph describing each and a link to further resources. The resources include case studies, blog posts and articles, guidelines if available, and COPE's famous flowcharts that provide step-by-step suggestions on how an editor or journal could handle ethics issues.

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Wiley launches new data sharing and citation policies to improve transparency in research
- 15 Sep 2017

Publisher John Wiley and Sons, Inc. has announced the launch of new data sharing and citation policies that will be implemented across all participating Wiley journals. Sharing data enables researchers to reuse experimental results and supports the creation of new work built on previous findings. These new policies will improve the efficiencies of the research process supporting the critical goals of transparency and reproducibility.

The majority of Wiley's journals will now adopt one of three standardized data sharing policies, which will encourage, expect, or mandate data sharing from authors publishing with Wiley. Researchers will be able to review the data sharing policy on their selected journal's author guidelines or via the Wiley Author Compliance Tool. Research data includes but is not limited to: raw data, processed data, software, algorithms, protocols, methods, and materials.

Further, Wiley has endorsed the FORCE11 Data Citation Principles and is implementing a mandatory data citation policy. Wiley journals will require that authors refer to the data at the relevant place in their manuscript and provide a formal citation in their reference list in the same way as article, book, and web citations. Wiley recommends the format proposed by the Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles (JDDCP).

Wiley is committed to improving the openness, transparency, and reproducibility of research and scholarly work. In addition to these data sharing and citation policies, Wiley believes that in communities where non-commercial preprint servers exist, journals should allow for the submission of manuscripts which have already been made available on such a server.

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