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News Feature: Experimenting with Open Science

March 7, 2023, #31

On 15 February Ludo Waltman and his co-authors published a blog article in Leiden Madtrics about “Experimenting with Open Science Practices at the STI 2023 Conference”¹. The organisers of the 2023 Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators conference (STI 2023) decided to try “two open science experiments”¹: the first opened the publication and peer review process, and the second involved “[r]eflecting on open science practices”¹. Publishing the article in an openly accessible blog may also represent a continuation of the reflections.

The scholarly community has been discussing the idea of more open peer-review processes actively for years, as reflected in past news features (see for example: “Fixing Peer Review”, 13 December 2022). What is new here is the degree to which the process is itself analysed as an experiment. They emphasise a number of benefits, including speeding up dissemination, increasing the value of peer review by making the comments available to everyone who reads the articles, helping authors by giving them “feedback and credit more rapidly,”¹ and by giving more recognition to those reviewers who allow their identity to be made public.

The authors also note some concerns: “A common objection against preprinting is that preprints may present inaccurate results because they are published before peer review. … Another concern about preprinting is that journals might be reluctant to publish articles that have already been published as a preprint. However, very few journals still have such a policy.”¹ The authors are especially concerned about how doctoral students might regard the experiment. As they note: “a closed ‘review, then publish’ model, peer review may be biased against these researchers, lowering their chances of getting their work published.”¹ The authors also recognize that doctoral students ”may feel uncomfortable both about their own work being critiqued publicly and about publicly critiquing the work of others, in particular the work of more senior colleagues.”¹

As part of the reflections aspect of the experiment, the STI conference organisers will survey participants, and will report on the results of the survey in a blog (presumably Leiden Madtrics). Broadening the discussion about open science methods seems appropriately integral to the openness of open science itself. NOTE: the iConference so far uses traditional double-blind peer reviewing for all papers with established scholars as reviewers.


1: Waltman, Ludo, Rong Ni, Kwun Hang (Adrian) Lai, Marc Luwel, Biegzat Mulati, Ed Noyons, Thed van Leeuwen, Leo Waaijers, and Verena Weimer. 2023. ‘Experimenting with Open Science Practices at the STI 2023 Conference’. Leiden Madtrecs. 15 February 2023.


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