Charlottesville, VA -- The Center for Open Science is pleased to announce a collaboration with Flu Lab and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) to launch the Opening Influenza Research project, an initiative to “empty the file drawers” of influenza research.
Over the years, negative results, null results, and replication studies from the influenza research community have gone unshared due to detrimental publishing practices that place greater value on novelty and certainty rather than corroboration and transparency. As a consequence of these biased publishing practices, there are substantial gaps in the collective understanding of influenza, a virus that presents a singular threat to human health and for which new and improved vaccines and therapies are urgently needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that influenza infections have resulted in up to 49 million illnesses, 960,000 hospitalizations and 79,000 deaths each year since 2010 in the United States alone (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Recent modeling efforts have indicated that the emergence of a virulent pandemic influenza strain could lead to nearly 33 million deaths worldwide within a six month period (Institute for Disease Modeling).
Opening Influenza Research invites the influenza research community to bridge knowledge gaps by contributing to a comprehensive aggregation of open and accessible influenza findings. The project invites proposals for negative and null results; existing replication studies; and new, highly-powered replications of important results in influenza research. If eligible, proposals may be awarded up to $25,000 to support the research design, manuscript development, and publishing processes.
“We are committed to exploring new ways to address persistent problems that have hindered efforts to effectively address the serious threat of influenza,” said Julie Schafer, PhD, Chief Technology Officer at Flu Lab. “We believe there are important insights to be gained by making available negative, null, and replication study results and we are glad to collaborate with COS and PLOS, who share our commitment to open science.”
The Opening Influenza Research project is the first initiative within Flu Lab’s Resurgent Influenza Science Effort (or RISE). RISE aims to fuel a resurgence of diverse influenza research efforts and will promote a culture of scientific transparency and collaboration in the influenza ecosystem.
“PLOS is delighted to be the publisher partner for this important initiative. Influenza research is tackling a major threat to global health and cannot afford to keep results unpublished that would otherwise advance knowledge,” said Veronique Kiermer, Executive Editor of PLOS. “PLOS ONE will publish peer-reviewed research arising from a call for proposals funded and coordinated by the Flu Lab and COS, which will form part of a special collection, alongside commentaries and perspectives published by PLOS Biology and PLOS Pathogens.”
"There is a tremendous amount of existing knowledge hidden away in the infamous 'file drawers' of unpublished research -- not to mention the replication research that is almost never conducted because publishability is so often tied to the novelty of a research finding," said David Mellor, Director of Policy Initiatives at COS. "This partnership with the Flu Lab and PLOS is so exciting because it gets right to the core of how science should be conducted, which is to share the evidence no matter what it says."
Applicants can learn more about the project, eligibility, and submission criteria at cos.io/flulab. Proposals must be submitted no later than November 30.
About Center for Open Science
The Center for Open Science (COS) is a non-profit technology and culture change organization founded in 2013 with a mission to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research. COS pursues this mission by building communities around open science practices, supporting metascience research, and developing and maintaining free, open source software tools. The OSF is a web application that provides a solution for the challenges facing researchers who want to pursue open science practices, including: a streamlined ability to manage their work; collaborate with others; discover and be discovered; preregister their studies; and make their code, materials, and data openly accessible. Learn more at cos.io and osf.io.
About Flu Lab
Flu Lab envisions a world free from the dangers of influenza. Through experimentation, learning and partnerships, our objective is to fuel bold approaches to defeat influenza, and be a source of innovation in the fields of influenza research and development, and public health. Flu Lab is a charitable organization investing in a portfolio of activities designed to create actionable knowledge, stimulate cross-sector collaborations, and mobilize stakeholders to achieve transformative changes. For more information, visit www.theflulab.org.
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