Open Science research practices need reinforcing and their value for science and society communicating to the wider public.
A group of researchers published a preprint on the 14th August called ‘Open Science Saves Lives: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.13.249847). The paper looks at failings in the rush to put out research during the pandemic and the misconceptions of the media when reporting on preprints for example.
The paper covers a variety of shortcoming in research practice and makes recommendations for the adoption of Open Science principles to help improve science going forwards.
A lively debate is needed about the value of Open Science in research related to the pandemic and how these can be implemented. You’re invited to support the authors call for the adoption of Open Science principles and to comment on the preprint.
‘Open Science saves lives: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic’
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large number of low-quality studies have been conducted and shared as preprints or fast-tracked for publication in journals, wasting research funds and decreasing efficiency of the research process. In some cases, questionable claims made by these studies have been amplified by the media and resulted in dire consequences on public policy, research, and associated public health, such as the high-profile case of Gautret et al. (2020), which resulted in Hydroxychloroquine being promoted as a cure for COVID-19 despite extremely weak and questionable evidence of its efficiency. In this paper (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.13.249847v1), we attempt to identify the root causes of these problems by analysing data related to each stage of the research process, and find that 27% of COVID-19-related retractions were due to flawed designs or analyses, 43% of fast-tracked articles, accepted in a day or less, had potential conflicts of interest between authors and editors, and many unreviewed COVID-19 preprints were widely covered by news. In line with these results, we argue that Open Science Practices have the potential to vastly improve the quality of future research on COVID-19 — for example by improving study designs through pre-registration, ensuring reliability through open code and data, and exposing conflicts of interest through open peer review — and that public education about Open Science practices (e.g., preprints) will be necessary to prevent further loss of scientific progress and life moving forward.Co-signing ‘Open Science saves lives: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic’