Interview with Michael Markie, Director of Publishing at F1000

Michael Markie
Director of Publishing at F1000

In our Eurodoc interview series, we have previously discussed innovative tools for new publishing platforms for Open Science, such as the Decentralised Research Platform (DEIP) and Peer Community In (PCI) initiatives.

In this interview, Michael Markie, Director of Publishing at F1000, will discuss a new concept for an open publishing platform that aims to facilitate faster, more efficient publishing, as well as making the whole publication process more transparent through Open Data and Open Peer Review.

1. What is F1000Research?

F1000Research is a publishing platform that is pioneering an open research publishing model. The platform combines the ability to publish rapidly with more functionality to ensure greater transparency in the review, robustness, and reproducibility of research. After undergoing rigorous pre-publication checks, articles are published first and then formally peer reviewed after publication by invited reviewers. When an article is first published, it is similar to a preprint, but the difference is that the article immediately enters the Open Reer Review process and cannot be submitted elsewhere. Transparency is a key part of the publication process: peer reviewers’ names and reviews are all visible alongside the article. Open Data is also an important part of the platform: any data underlying the results must be made available so that other researchers can analyse and use the data and thus try to reproduce the results. Exceptions can only be made where there are issues for data protection or security, and where data cannot be suitably anonymised. Our open research publishing model has been very popular with the research community. and is now being used by many research funding and performing organisations, including the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

2. What makes F1000Research unique?

F1000Research supports research assessment based on the intrinsic value of the research and not on the publication venue. What makes us unique is that our open research publishing model is specifically built to support the author. This means that authors, not editors, get to decide what to publish and choose the referees for their publications following basic criteria, with all suggestions verified by our in-house editorial team. This allows authors to suggest referees most appropriate to their subject and whose comments they can subsequently cite to demonstrate the quality of their work. All types of research can be published, including protocols, data sets, case reports, incremental findings, traditional narratives, and negative results. Another unique aspect is that unlike traditional journals, our model is built to use the full capabilities of the internet. Authors are encouraged to publish revised versions of their article to address reviewers or update their work. This dynamic way of publishing enables authors and reviewers to openly engage in a civil and productive dialogue to improve the work. Having all the reports and revisions visible allows both the author and reviewer to get credit for their input and allow the readers a deeper context into how an article has evolved and what the chosen experts have said.

3. Why should early-career researchers (ECRs) use F1000Research?

I think it’s fair to say that Open Science increases visibility and maximises the societal impact of research. The more people who can access and subsequently re-use your research data the better. F1000Research is particularly suited to supporting ECRs by accelerating the speed of publication and sharing their data and findings: this allows ECRs to quickly disseminate all of their research outcomes and build up a publication record for their research and career evaluations or project and grant applications or even their next position. Our author-centric approach removes any barriers to getting an article accepted like in a traditional journal, where goals to maintain journal prestige often restrict what is accepted for publication, and which may not publish certain outcomes such as negative results.

There are also educational and networking benefits to our model. Open Peer Review enables ECRs to educate themselves on how to perform peer review as they can easily see how other experts critique an article. This also enables ECRs to start an open and constructive dialogue with experts in the field and build potentially important new connections and networks for future collaborations and careers.

4. How does F1000Research view Plan S and FAIR Data? 

We are a strong supporter of Plan S and its mission towards universal adoption of full and immediate Open Access to scholarly publications. As we have seen over the past 20 years, the subscription and hybrid publishing models have not resulted in a satisfactory move towards Open Access and have led to unaffordable access and publishing costs as well as confusing policies for researchers. We believe that Plan S is a bold but necessary move to achieving widespread Open Access in the near future. Being one of the first publishers to make data deposition mandatory, we have also been actively involved in developing and supporting the FAIR data principles for scientific data management and stewardship. We have actively supported the principles, which aim to make research (meta)data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable, and have updated our own data guidelines to be framed around each of these four principles and demonstrate best practises in the field. The driving force of F1000Research is to open up research and make research outcomes more accessible and impactful, not only for the research and researchers themselves, but crucially also for society.