AAS Open Research publishes first articles showcasing scientific research from Africa
Today marks the first day of publication for AAS Open Research, a dedicated open access platform for researchers associated with the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and programs supported through its funding platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA). The publication platform will bring the results of African research to the world stage and help create capacity by supporting early career researchers.
The initial appearance of AAS Open Research, powered by F1000, features ten articles covering topics ranging from bioinformatics to climate change. These include traditional research articles, clinical trials, and method articles. The first authors to publish cover the length and breadth of the African continent from institutions such as the University of Cape Town.
AAS Open Research is different from traditional journals in that any results that AAS-affiliated and AESA-funded researchers think are worth sharing are published after undergoing editorial checks by F1000’s editorial team, as well as ethical and technical screening. All articles that pass these checks will be published before they undergo invited, open peer review.
Research outputs can include null results, data notes, small findings and case reports, as well as more traditional research articles. This can reduce research waste and support reproducibility by ensuring researchers have a more complete picture of what is happening in their research field, especially as all articles will be freely available as open access.
AAS Open Research is particularly supportive of early career researchers who can publish their results in a much quicker way than in traditional journals. It will also allow early career researchers to build up a publication record, because all types of research outputs are fully citable, allowing scientists at all stages to progress with their careers.
The peer review process in AAS Open Research invites authors to participate by suggesting appropriate experts to peer review their work after the article has been published. There is no subjectivity, or the inevitable bias introduced by an Editor (or Editor-in-Chief) who decides whether to accept or reject the article. The author-recommended reviewers are checked for suitability before being invited by the editorial team on the authors’ behalf. As soon as peer review reports are received, they are posted alongside the article together with the reviewer’s name. This level of transparency means that reviewers get credit for their work and others can make informed decisions on the merit of the published work.
AAS Open Research joins a growing number of publication platforms based on the technology first developed by F1000Research. These include platforms on behalf of Wellcome, the Gates Foundation (two of the largest charitable biomedical funders in the world) and Ireland’s Health Research Board. In launching AAS Open Research, AAS hopes to leapfrog ahead to a better, innovative way of science communication.
Professor Nelson Torto, Executive Director, AAS, said:
“AAS Open Research represents the cutting edge of science communication by offering the option to communicate research in a manner that is immediate, accessible, transparent, dynamic and peer reviewed. It is designed to serve authors and is author-driven from beginning to end, from participation in the peer review process, to ownership of the copyright of their work via the CC BY 4.0 license that under which all articles are published. ”
Dr Jantina De Vries, Assistant Professor of Bioethics from the University of Cape Town and one of the first researchers to publish on AAS Open Research, said: “AAS Open Research is a wonderful new initiative that will allow African researchers to re-claim ownership over their intellectual work. In the article we published on the platform, we report on a Framework for best practice for African genomics research, and a key component of the framework is African leadership. AAS Open Research offers a way for junior and senior African scholars associated with AAS or supported through AESA to present their work on an open access platform, free of charge.”
Dr Rebecca Lawrence, Managing Director, F1000, said: “I am incredibly excited and honoured that the African Academy of Sciences have chosen to partner with us in launching AAS Open Research. The clear need and desire for the ability to publish quickly, easily and in an open and transparent way to reduce the issues of publication bias that researchers in Africa regularly face has been demonstrated by the volume of requests from researchers wanting to submit their work to this platform. In shifting the focus away from the venue of publication to the output itself will enable the quality of African research to shine for itself on a global stage.”