The journal Educação em Revista is reviewing only preprints in the “publish, then review” model

Por Abel Packer e Alex Mendonça

The journal Educação em Revista (EDUR), linked to the Graduate Program in Education of the Faculdade de Educação of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), has required since February 2021 that the manuscripts to be submitted should be previously deposited on the SciELO Preprints server following the “publish, then review1 model, coined by the editors of eLife. SciELO Preprints performs a structural review of the manuscript according to SciELO standards and assesses its relevance through moderation, in which the main criterion is to accept manuscripts deemed to be further assessed by peer review.

This update of EDUR’s editorial policy has as primary gain the efficacy of desk review, which starts receiving properly structured manuscripts that can be sent to peer reviewers. Moreover, the pioneering adoption of one of the key Open Science practices promotes an overhaul of scholarly communication in Brazil, such as the empowerment of authors, who now have control and responsibility in making their research available before validation by a journal, and the possibility of improving manuscripts with contributions from other researchers. The adoption of such practices allows for the acceleration of the availability of new knowledge, which can be verified through the performance data of the manuscripts in terms of number of accesses, which serve as antecedents for the peer review process.

On the occasion of the SciELO 20 Years Week, in September 2018, the SciELO Program formally adopted the alignment with Open Science, understood in UNESCO’s conceptualization as a construct on Open Access to scientific knowledge (texts, datasets, software codes , Open Science infrastructures, dialogue with society and with other types of knowledge established or generated outside the scientific method.

The objectives of conducting and communicating research in the Open Science modality are well defined and disseminated in recent years:

(a) Strengthening collaboration and sharing as the essence of scientific research and, consequently, increase the effectiveness and productivity of the scientific enterprise;

(b) Maximizing transparency in all processes; and,

(c) Democratizing scientific knowledge and the mechanisms of participation of social actors in the scientific enterprise, beyond academia.

The SciELO Indexing Criteria were updated in May 2020 and indicate that all SciELO journals must update their editorial policies so that they are in line with open science practices by 2023.

As a support tool, SciELO has developed and maintains an Open Science Compliance Form that must be completed by authors before inserting it in a journal. Through this form, it is possible to access the following data:

1) Pre-posting a manuscript on a preprint server;

2) Making available underlying research data; and

3) Opening the peer review process.

The SciELO in Perspective blog interviewed the Editors of the journal Educação em Revista about the process and perspective of the editorial policy renewal in favor of the alignment of research communication with Open Science.

1. [SciELO] The adoption of the Open Science modus operandi requires the proactive participation in all instances and all actors involved in research – funding agencies, research institutions, graduate programs, research groups, journals, and bibliographic indexes. In your opinion, what are the benefits and challenges faced by journals as a whole and, particularly, those in Education, to renew their policies and editorial management in line with Open Science practices and, particularly, accepting preprints?

[MÔNICA JINZENJI] I – Mônica Jinzenji –, Eucidio Arruda, and Suzana Gomes are the Editors of Educação em Revista and, in our discussions and studies, we have seen that the main benefit of the scientific practices of open science is transparency in research production and evaluation of research results. The expansion of the debate around new knowledge before it is consolidated in the published article is such an example. Other benefits are, for example, the availability of knowledge and underlying data, so that the scientific community can improve what has already been produced without having to repeat efforts, which impacts on saving time and resources. At their core, open science principles embody the perspective that everyone is learning when research results are open for debate, for example.

By means of publishing preprints, we are accepting contributions from readership for an output considered to be open and provisional, and it poses as a challenge a cultural shift on producing and disseminating knowledge. So, instead of unpublished knowledge being kept until the moment of its revelation to the community, knowledge starts to be seen as a contribution available for reading and prior consultation.

Another challenge is anonymity. Since, up to know, anonymity is understood as a guarantee of assessment impartiality. Within open science principles, the openness of evaluation is valued for its transparency. Finally, another important topic is the formation of critical readers, who know how to differentiate what is available in preprint, for consultation and debate, and the article published in a qualified journal.

2. [SciELO] Talking specifically of EDUR, whose editorial policy of requiring prior availability on the SciELO Preprints server has been in effect since February 2021, is it already possible to identify benefits arising from this change? What are the long-term expectations?

[MÔNICA JINZENJI] Regarding the changes in the editorial flow, in an initial phase of adaptation to the guidelines, we noticed a slight decrease in the flow and submissions and we are understanding that this is a phase of assimilation of procedures, but it may also be related to a new posture from the authors, of greater care regarding the preparation and production of the manuscript, since it will already be available online for reading and consulting as soon as it is available in the preprint repository.

The moderation carried out by SciELO is also certainly contributing to this new flow. We have received well-prepared, structured manuscripts, and almost all of them are being sent for peer review. Our expectation is that we will receive manuscripts with good chances of publication that require less changes [between the] initial proposal and the version to be published.

3. SciELO – Can you share the motivations, difficulties and resistances in the analysis and discussion process that led to the decision to require manuscripts to be previously deposited in SciELO Preprints?

[EUCIDIO ARRUDA] Our understanding is that open science is what we have been aiming for as researchers for a long time. The collaborative work perspective of transparency and data sharing involves an expectation of continuous improvement of our scientific output. This has been our biggest motivational element. The adoption of preprint has been positive in the medium and long term, as we see that, in addition to greater transparency in the submission, evaluation, and publication processes, it will allow us to take considerable time away from journals editing.

Among the greatest difficulties we have faced or foresee to face, the availability of sensitive data is perhaps the one that generates the most debates among our peers. This is because research in Education essentially deals with human beings; in many cases, children. That is why it is so important and necessary for the National Research Ethics Commission to unite with the journals so that we can build paths that meet open science principles without disclosing the participants’ anonymity.

We immediately realize that ensuring anonymity will promote different ways to build and organize data and documents. Until then, each researcher could define how they would collect and identify their data in their private folders. Of course, in the publication, this would be reconfigured, but the raw data is organized according to each researcher. This will become unfeasible in the context of opening this information, these documents. Furthermore, we consider that various media, such as video, audio, web pages, web forms, are also sensitive to this issue, especially because they allow identification, whether by images, sounds, publications, nicknames… So, we have a huge challenge, which is to build, together with the Ethics Commission, adaptations, changes, in the ways we produce and organize data arising from human interaction.

Among the resistances found, we consider that the double-blind assessment culture is still predominant, with its benefits and limitations. We lack structured data to state what would be the resistances in the area, but we observe that the perspective of open evaluation still provokes some fear, both in who is evaluated, who fears bias in the evaluation process, and of whom evaluates, fearing that their identification may generate pressure on the result or changes in the professional behavior that is being evaluated.

4. [SciELO] What were the main changes in the journal’s workflow after the implementation of this new editorial policy?

[EUCIDIO ARRUDA] The main change was in the reformulation of the norms of submission of manuscripts, so now it is necessary to deposit the article to be evaluated in the SciELO Preprints repository. We also request a declaration of availability of data and other resources involved in the development of the research. We adopted, at first, the simple-blind evaluation, in which the evaluators are not identified before the final result, so, regarding the flow, we notice a slight simplification as the works already come to us with a different quality, let’s say, with a better quality than it did before, exactly because of the two-stages evaluation.

We believe that, for the authors, the greatest impact regarded preprint submission. This is because it is not an “automatic” submission, it goes through an evaluation of criteria – not “criteria” in terms of content evaluation, but technical criteria before the preprint is made available. Moreover, as a first step, we need to check all documentation and compliance with the guidelines, we provide clarifications to the reviewers – it has been very common [for us] to send messages explaining how it works, about preprints and the possibility of identifying the authors. So far, no article submitted in accordance with these guidelines has been published, because we have a huge flow of submissions that predate this new format, so we have not yet performed the link between DOIs and other necessary procedures.

6. [SciELO] Among researchers, there is some resistance at different levels to the adoption of preprints as the beginning of the research communication workflow. In our experience promoting Open Science, particularly using SciELO Preprints, there is a perception that acceptance is more common in some subject areas. This is the case of Health Sciences, in part due to COVID-19. What is your particular perception, about the area of Education and what are the strategies that Educação em Revista has been promoting to reduce resistance?

[SUZANA GOMES] Resistance in the adoption of preprints is based on historically structured academic culture. The preprint is a relatively new format, still little known, [and] despite being considered fundamental for the renewal of science, it still faces resistance from the scientific community because its adoption implies a change of paradigms. I believe that recognizing the advantages of preprint takes time, so that many researchers can see that preprints accelerate the sharing of research results, foster the advancement of the field, and improve the communication culture among the academic community.

We can say that hard and health sciences coexist and operate with preprints for decades. There is an accumulation [of material] and, therefore, greater openness for the adoption of this modality of scholarly communication. In the context of the covid-19 pandemic, for example, preprints are becoming relevant alternatives for evaluating and providing information on various initiatives that seek to treat and eliminate diseases. Health researchers are carrying out studies and, in this complex context, having access to research made available quickly through preprints can be very positive for society: It is science acting on behalf of life.

In Education, generally, there is historical and cultural resistance that has been gradually overcome thanks to the perception of the advantages of open science and preprints as integral components of scholarly communication. The pandemic has also stimulated the Education [field] to pay attention to the university, to public policies, to the teaching-learning process, learning and teacher education, to name a few relevant themes. In the field of Education, we also face dilemmas, and one of the challenges would be to overcome the delay in sharing research results.

The open science practice that involves preprints can speed up the dissemination of research in the field of Education and, consequently, can contribute to minimize and overcome numerous educational challenges. To reduce and minimize resistance, we, the editors of Educação em Revista, are participating in the editors’ forums, disseminating subsidies on open science, and clarifying authors who seek us to consult about the new procedures.

6. [SciELO] Finally, in your opinion, what factors could contribute to accelerate the adoption of Open Science by quality journals? In particular, to what extent can journal leadership make a differentiated contribution?

[SUZANA GOMES] Quality journal editors have a central role in this movement, which aim to accelerate the adoption of open science. They can show, through different forms of communication, that preprints contribute to the responsible acceleration of research results and are in line with the new scientific and editorial policy. In this sense, editors of quality journals can contribute by exploring elements that are part of this policy, including open access, peer review, and data opening. Our experience in Educação em Revista, in the field of Education, can motivate other journals in the area. We are in the process, learning a lot and, moreover, we are open to participate in discussion and dissemination forums.

One way to collaborate is to make transparent the procedures implemented for the adoption of open science principles, especially preprints. Our expectation is that little by little, the scientific community will attest to the benefits of agile dissemination of knowledge and debate prior to publication. As a result, peer reviewers will be able to base their reviews on a broader and more fertile debate, which will undoubtedly result in greater qualification of the editorial process. It is important to remember that the adoption of open science principles involves a change of publishing culture, it requires time, as involves, among others, the opening of quality journals to change references that are well-established in academia itself.

Acknowledgement

[SUZANA GOMES] We, the editors of Educação em Revista, acknowledge the direction of SciELO for the interview and for the opportunity to work in partnership. Thank you!

Note

1. EISEN, M.B., et al. Implementing a “publish, then review” model of publishing. eLife [online]. 2020, vol. 9, e64910 [viewed 00 July 2021]. https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.64910. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33258772/

External links

Open Science Compliance Form: https://wp.scielo.org/wp-content/uploads/SciELO-Preprints-Open-Science-Compliance-Form_en.docx

SciELO 20 Years Week: https://www.scielo20.org/

SciELO Brazil Criteria: https://www.scielo.br/about/criterios-scielo-brasil

SciELO – Educação em Revista: https://www.scielo.br/edur/

SciELO Preprints: https://preprints.scielo.org/

 

About Eucídio Pimenta Arruda

PhD in Education. Associate Professor at Faculdade de Educação of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Deputy Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Education: Knowledge and Social Inclusion. General Editor of the journal Educação em Revista.

 

About Mônica Yumi Jinzenji

PhD in Education from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – UFMG. Associate Professor at Faculdade de Educação and at the Graduate Program in Education at the same University. General Editor of Educação em Revista and History of Education researcher. Coordinator of the Study and Research Group on Written Culture.

 

Sobre Suzana dos Santos Gomes

She is an Associate Professor at Faculdade de Educação of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (FaE/UFMG). Post-Doctor in Education from Universidade de Lisboa (UL) and Universidade de São Paulo (USP). PhD in Education. Researcher at the Educational Assessment and Measures Group (GAME) and Leader of the Action Research Group on University – Universitátis/FaE/UFMG. Professor and researcher of the Graduate Program in Education: Knowledge and Social Inclusion. General Editor of the journal Educação em Revista (FaE/UFMG).

 

Translated from the original in Portuguese by Lilian Nassi-Calò.

 

Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

PACKER, A.L. and MENDONÇA, A. The journal Educação em Revista is reviewing only preprints in the “publish, then review” model [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2021 [viewed ]. Available from: https://blog.scielo.org/en/2021/07/08/the-journal-educacao-em-revista-is-reviewing-only-preprints-in-the-publish-then-review-model/

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Post Navigation