Open Science (a movement to make all phases of scientific research transparent and accessible to the public) has made great strides in the past decade, but those come with new ethical concerns that the COVID-19 Pandemic has highlighted. Open science promotes transparency in data and analysis and has been demonstrated to improve the quality and quantity of scientific research in participating institutions. These principles are never more valuable than in the midst of a global crisis such as the COVID pandemic, where quality information is needed so researchers can quickly and effectively build upon one another's work. It is also vital for the public and decision makers who need to make important calls about public health. However, misinformation can have a serious material cost in human lives that grows exponentially if not addressed properly. Preprints, lack of data sharing, and rushed peer review have led to confusion for both experts and the lay public alike.
We are a global collaboration that has looked at COVID19 research and potential misuses of basic transparency research principles. Our findings are available as a preprint and all our data is available online. To sum up, our findings are that:
Preprints (non peer-reviewed manuscripts) on COVID19 have been mentioned in the news approximately 10 times more than preprints on other topics published during the same period.
Approximately 700 articles have been accepted for publication in less than 24 hours, among which 224 were detailing new research results. Out of these 224 papers, 31% had editorial conflicts of interest (i.e., the authors of the papers were also part of the editorial team of the journal).
There has been a large amount of duplicated research projects probably leading to potential scientific waste.
There have been numerous methodologically flawed studies which could have been avoided if research protocols were transparently shared and reviewed before the start of a clinical trial.
Finally, the lack of data sharing and code sharing led to the now famous The Lancet scandal on Surgisphere
We hope that we can all shed some light on our findings and answer your questions. So there you go, ask us anything. We are looking forward to discussing these issues... keep reading on reddit ➡
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