Elsevier Signs Up to Transparency Guidelines

The publisher will ask its journal editors to adopt widely accepted standards on transparency and openness in scientific communication.

Sep 5, 2017
Catherine Offord

WIKIMEDIA, JOHANNES JANSSONElsevier, the publishing giant currently embroiled in disputes over open access to journal articles, has now become a signatory to scientific publishing’s Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines, according to an announcement made today (September 5) with the Center for Open Science (COS). The guidelines, published in June 2015 in Science by a committee of researchers, funding agency representatives, and journal editors from Europe and North America, detail eight standards designed to foster greater transparency in scientific communication in journals that publish research.

“Elsevier journals now encourage and enable authors to share data or make a data availability statement, which is part of our ongoing focus on research integrity and supporting good quality research,” Philippe Terheggen, Elsevier’s managing director of science, technical, and medical journals, says in a press release. “We look forward to strengthening our work with COS and will provide feedback from authors and editors, to develop the best possible solutions to promote reproducibility, transparency and quality of research.”

See “Major German Universities Cancel Elsevier Contracts

The published guidelines—which have already been adopted by AAAS, Springer Nature, Wiley, and others—include recommendations on how authors should present data and research materials, and lay out various degrees of stringency for their adoption at journals. For example, a level one adoption of the “data transparency” standard would see that an article “states whether data are available and, if so, where to access them,” while a level three adoption by journals would require authors to post data “to a trusted repository.”

For now, it remains unclear what effects might be felt at Elsevier’s journals, which currently vary in their data policies, and sometimes only “encourage” rather than require researchers’ cooperation. Not everyone is convinced it will lead automatically to greater openness. Mark Hahnel, founder of data-sharing platform figshare, tells The Chronicle of Higher Education that although the company’s decision appears to be “a great move,” it is uncertain whether Elsevier will implement the standards in a way that really promotes greater access to data for its users. “I think we can all understand how everyone else in the community is looking for the asterisk,” he says.

Nevertheless, Brian Nosek, executive director for the COS and one of the authors of the 2015 Science paper, tells The Chronicle that the move marks Elsevier’s “biggest affirmative step toward promoting data sharing across its entire journal portfolio.” The company’s decision, he adds, “is an important signal to the publishers that are slower to adopt open practices that this is becoming the new normal and it is time to catch up.”

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts


Sponsored Product Updates

Complete Pathology Solutions: Make Every Minute Count

Complete Pathology Solutions: Make Every Minute Count

From sample collection and handling, to fixation and processing, tissue staining, and covering all your IHC and water purification needs—you can have confidence in the quality of your results with MilliporeSigma's one-stop pathology solution.

Preparing Cell Or Tissue Lysates For ELISA Kits

Preparing Cell Or Tissue Lysates For ELISA Kits

RayBiotech manufactures over 2,000 high fully validated, GMP-compliant ELISA kits. In this blog post we explain how to prepare cell or tissue lysates for ELISA Kits.

Norgen Biotek Achieves Illumina Propel Certification as a Service Provider for Next Generation Sequencing

Norgen Biotek Achieves Illumina Propel Certification as a Service Provider for Next Generation Sequencing

Norgen Biotek Corp., an innovative privately held Canadian biotechnology company focusing primarily on nucleic acid and protein stabilization and purification, as well as providing high quality services to the scientific community, today announced that it has become Propel-Certified through Illumina as a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) service provider.

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice cutting tools—which feature our patent-pending safety blades—meet many lab-specific requirements. Our scalpels and craft knives are well suited for delicate work, and our utility knives are good for general use.