Making Scientific Research More Open and More Effective
PREreview, a project co-lead by Mozilla Fellow Daniela Saderi, has garnered grants from the Wellcome Trust and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
A Mozilla Fellow and a team of open-science advocates have been awarded two major grants to make scientific research more open and effective.
Daniela Saderi and the rest of the PREreview leadership team will use a £50,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust’s Open Research Fund and $66,780 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to carry out the work.
PREreview is a community and a platform for the crowd-sourcing of preprint peer reviews in scientific research. Preprints are early versions of scientific manuscripts that are published online before undergoing journal peer review. They allow researchers to share early scientific findings more openly and collaboratively.
Says Daniela Saderi, co-founder of PREreview and a Mozilla Fellow: “Our goal is to facilitate a cultural shift in which every scientist posts, reads, and engages with preprints as standard practice in scholarly publishing. We want to help scientists see the benefits of both sharing their work openly and exchanging timely feedback, in a way that is constructive, inclusive, and rewarding to them.”
PREreview will partner with the nonprofit Outbreak Science and use the Wellcome funds to develop “Rapid PREreview,” an interoperable and open-source extension for the PREreview platform. Rapid PREreview will allow scientists to share preprints swiftly during public health crises, and also to generate aggregated data visualizations based on feedback.
“In the context of infectious disease outbreaks, accelerating the dissemination of scientific evidence is of utmost importance. Decisions must be made quickly and leverage the best available evidence as it evolves,” the team says.
Rapid PREreview will be developed in the open and in a modularized fashion, so scientists can adapt it to disciplines other than public health.
The Wellcome grant proposal was written by the PREreview leadership team including Saderi, Dr. Monica Granados, and Dr. Samantha Hindle, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Johansson, founder and director of Outbreak Science and a biologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Saderi and the PREreview team will use the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funds to develop the core PREreview 2.0 platform. This open-source platform is designed to engage the whole scientific community with collaborative and constructive peer review. Some of the key features of PREreview 2.0 include users’ ability to sign-in with their ORCID IDs (with optional pseudonymity), solicit preprint feedback, leave comments, and endorse others’ reviews, all in accordance with PREreview’s Code of Conduct.
Thank to this funding, the PREreview team is ready to start building, and the community is welcome to follow their progress on the project’s GitHub. Stay tuned and follow them on Twitter: @PREreview_.
PREreview operates under the fiscal sponsorship of Code for Science & Society and is supported by Saderi’s Mozilla Fellowship. A Mozilla/Sloan mini-grant supported the beta-testing phase during the first six months of the project. Mozilla Fellowships and Awards support people on the front lines of the internet health movement, who are making the digital world more open.
Saderi says these grants, and PREreview’s mission, are part of a broader push to make scientific research more open. “Scientific work is rarely done in a vacuum, and always relies on the work of previous people who have in turn relied on others before them,” she explains. “Consequently, keeping our findings (positive and negative) secret, or preventing their rapid dissemination, prevents us as a society from moving forward.”