Publishing research with negative or neutral results can be difficult in traditional scientific journals. Similarly, non-typical articles such as those reporting methods may also be overlooked in favour of papers considered more impactful. In a recent Times Higher Education article, Holly Else describes how innovative platforms that publish this so-called ‘grey literature’ have emerged.
F1000 and The Winnower (recently acquired by Authorea) are examples of such platforms. They instantly publish original research articles, posters, slides, blogs, essays and other non-traditional pieces, and make them open to post-publication peer-review. The latest platform to launch, Wellcome Open Research uses this same publishing model to allow Wellcome grant recipients the opportunity publish all of their work, ensuring Wellcome’s research outputs are FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). Together with online repositories like Figshare, which allows academics to deposit any file type to make their research citable and discoverable, the options open to researchers has never been greater.
The individuals behind these publishing innovations describe how the platforms encourage scientists to share their work and facilitate openness within research. They also aim to prevent the inadvertent repetition of research that can occur if there is no record of the work having previously been performed. Although these open scholarly publishing platforms look set to change the way science is communicated, the article concludes that the traditional journal article is unlikely to go anywhere for the foreseeable future.