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HRB Open Research: moving up a gear

25 Oct 2017

Good ideas can catch on! Just a year ago, our publishing model was a proof of concept that researchers were using to communicate results quickly and transparently, avoiding the pitfalls of the current publishing system. Since November 2016 and the launch of Wellcome Open Research, we have seen funders and research institutes also challenge the status quo.

Earlier this year, we announced (and will soon begin publishing) another funder-based platform – Gates Open Research and then two institutional-based publication platforms (here and here).


Leadership is needed to change how publishing works

Wellcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the two largest private funders of biomedical research in the world, have shown leadership in launching their publication platforms. They will now be joined by another funder – the Health Research Board (HRB) of Ireland, the first public funder to launch their own publication platform – HRB Open Research.

Part of the HRB strategy is to “strengthen its leadership role… by promoting and influencing national and European agendas relevant to the work that we do.” In taking this significant step, they have demonstrated real leadership. I know that they have also opened up discussions with other agencies and research institutes in Ireland, and colleagues across Europe about HRB Open Research and how it will support their grantees.

At F1000, we recognise the importance of these discussions, as without collaboration across the research ecosystem, change will not take place. As part of our contribution to the EC’s Open Science Policy Platform, we are working to bring about a coordinated shift by all the relevant actors to deliver on the EU Commissioner Moedas’ Open Science Agenda. This is especially relevant with regards to the need to adjust the metrics, and subsequent recognition and rewards used across the research system. This will then incentivise researchers to work and communicate their findings in an open science manner. It is therefore gratifying to see the HRB actively tackling these issues across Ireland with the relevant actors.


Ensuring value for money

In her blog post, Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, HRB’s Interim Chief Executive and Director of Research Strategy and Funding, discusses some of the core principles of the HRB strategy. One of these core principles is value for money; this is of course of great importance for a public funder, ensuring that taxpayers money is being spent in the most effective way to help society.

HRB Open Research will support this principle by helping to reduce research waste by providing a place for all HRB-funded researchers to publish their results regardless of their outcome or potential importance or impact. There are various estimates that suggest that almost half of biomedical research results are unpublished. The results of HRB-funded research, be they research articles, negative/null results, case reports, small findings or the data underlying their results, can all find a home on HRB Open Research. This will help address issues around what has been dubbed the ‘replication crisis’ and support improving research integrity by reducing pressure to overstate findings or to selectively publish.


Adding transparency to funded research

The aims of the HRB are to improve people’s health and enhance healthcare delivery through excellent research. The knowledge generated through this research can sometimes be promoted for potential application to policy and practice. The transparent peer review model used on HRB Open Research, first developed on F1000Research, will mean that the quality of this research can be seen by all as views of independent expert reviewers and the underlying data will be included with each article, providing a much more complete picture for the benefit of everyone.


Where next?

I have been reliably informed by our head of communications (who also happens to be Irish) that the Gaelic proverb “ní heolas go haontios,” means there is no knowledge without unity. With a third funder coming to partner with us it is more likely than ever that we can achieve our vision of changing academic publishing by working with others through ORC. We have squeezed a lot into this year, but it isn’t over yet! We hope to announce one more platform before the year is out.

Keep abreast of what is happening with HRB Open Research by signing up for updates here.

The post HRB Open Research: moving up a gear appeared first on F1000 Blogs.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in F1000 Research