Monday, 16 March 2020

CALLING ALL SCIENTISTS: Rapid evaluation of COVID19-related Registered Reports at Royal Society Open Science



Each of us has a part to play in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, including journals and Registered Reports (RRs).

For those unfamiliar with RRs, they are a form of empirical article offered by more than 200 journals in which study proposals are peer reviewed and pre-accepted before research is undertaken. This article type offers a powerful tool for advancing research on COVID-19 by reducing publication bias and reporting bias in the growing evidence base.


As the RR editor at Royal Society Open Science, I am announcing a special call for submissions that are relevant to any aspect of COVID-19 in any field, including but not limited to biological, medical, economic, and psychological research. All RRs at Royal Society Open Science are published open access (CC-BY) with accompanying open review.


To maximise accessibility of the call, all article processing charges for these submissions are automatically waived, and to ensure that high quality protocols can be implemented as swiftly as possibly, the journal will strive to complete initial Stage 1 review within 7 days of receiving a submission. 


This form of rapid review for RRs has never been attempted, and for it to succeed we need your help. 


To reviewers: If you are willing to review a Stage 1 RR in your field of expertise within 24-48 hours of accepting a review request, then please complete this online form. You don't need to be a virologist or epidemiologist -- research in a wide range of fields is relevant to COVID-19, including maths, statistics, psychology and the social sciences. All expert reviewers are welcome, from PhD students to professors. 


To authors: To accelerate handling of submissions, we encourage you to complete your Stage 1 RR using this online template which will help ensure clear linking of the research question, hypotheses, analysis plans and prospective interpretation. We recognise that not all parts of the template will be relevant for all fields, but as a minimum please ensure that your manuscript includes the design planner in Section 9 of the template. Full guidelines for RRs at Royal Society Open Science can be found here. Please mention COVID-19 prominently in your Stage 1 manuscript title and/or cover letter to assist the journal administrative team in expediting your submission.


Further updates to this initiative will be reported on my blog, on my twitter feed, or on the Royal Society publishing blog.


** UPDATE 17 March: PLOS Biology have now also joined this initiative

** UPDATE 18 March: Nature Human Behaviour have now also joined

** UPDATE 20 March: All seven PeerJ journals have joined

** UPDATE 23 March: 450 reviewers, and rising, have now joined the rapid review network 

** UPDATE 23 March: Collabra: Psychology have joined

** UPDATE 25 March: We have issued our first Stage 1 in-principle acceptance for this initiative at Royal Society Open Science

** UPDATE 8 April: We have issued our second Stage 1 in-principle accepance for this initiative at Royal Society Open Science. It is also the first example of an accepted RR in chemistry. 

** UPDATE 15 April: We have issued our third Stage 1 in-principle acceptance, and the first example of an accepted RR in immunology/microbiology.

** UPDATE 30 April: We have accepted our first completed Stage 2 submission (with results). The rapid response network is also approaching 800 reviewers.

** UPDATE 1 May: We have issued our fourth Stage 1 in-principle acceptance, which is also the first example of an accepted RR in viral bioinformatics. 

** UPDATE 18 May: We have issued our fifth Stage 1 in-principle acceptance 

** UPDATE 27 May: We have accepted our second completed Stage 2 submission (with results). The rapid response network is now approaching 850 reviewers. 

** UPDATE 2 June: We have issued our sixth Stage 1 in-principle acceptance. Protocol is temporarily embargoed until Stage 2 submission.

** UPDATE 9 June: We have issued our seventh Stage 1 in-principle acceptance

** UPDATE 10 June: We have issued our eighth Stage 1 in-principle acceptance. Protocol is temporarily embargoed until Stage 2 submission.

** UPDATE 9 July: Nature Communications have now joined the initiative. 

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