Living Communications

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Living Communications

Description

With Living Communications, Bioenergetics Communications (BEC) is taking the next step from pre-print to re-print. Living Communications allow additions and corrections of a publication with Open Peer Review, such that the publication can evolve with full traceability, instead of remaining a static outdated paper. The concept of Living Communications persues a novel culture of scientific communication, addressing the conflict between long-term elaboration and validation of results and concepts, versus sharing quickly important preliminary and controversial contributions. Updated versions of Living Communications evolve on the basis of additions or corrections posted on the BEC website of the resource publication, until a new version is published. Evolution of a Living Communication is more resourceful and efficient than a ‘new’ publication. Living Communications provide a pathway along the scientific culture of lively debate towards tested and trusted milestones of research, from pre-print to re-print, from initial steps to next steps.

Abbreviation: LC

Reference: BEC formats

Contribution by Gnaiger Erich: last update 2020-09-17

Living Communications - evolution of a scientific publication

Gentle Science: Even when trying the best in completion of a preprint and in accomodating critical and helpful advice from reviewers in the publication, there is generally scope for making it better. Whereas the printed ‘paper’ is a final document of an original publication, the Living Communication can be edited for keeping it up-to-date and further improving the quality (corrections, additions, re-interpretations, discussions). For instance, fair citation may not always be possible in the most optimal way, since the reader should not be overwhelmed by an excessive number of references, or due to the impossibility of complete awareness by the authors and reviewers of further relevant references. Additions, corrections and extensions can be made, particularly on the basis of discussions and correspondence initiated after publication. A Living Communication can evolve further from the date of publication of the latest version.
MitoFit Preprint Arch.png

From preprint to publication

  • The preprint is part of a stepwise process: MitoFit Preprint Archives is the fast lane of Open Access communication without peer review. Authors indicate if the preprint is considered for Bioenergetics Communications. The Open Peer Review starts with publishing the preprint.
Bioenergetics Communications

BEC versions

  1. External review should lead without 'unreasonable' delay to publication in Bioenergetics Communications. BEC reviewers do not have the option to insist on additional experiments, but strictly focus on the quality of the presently provided information. BEC reviewers may suggest additional experiments for future versions, without delay of publishing the actually available and evaluated information.
  2. Reviewers, editors and readers may encourage follow-up interlaboratory collaborations. Extended information can then be added by the original authors or new collaborators (in agreement with the original authors) in future versions. Contributions by reviewers, such as a joint discussion, may be integrated into a future version upon mutual agreement with the original authors, such that reviewers become coauthors, with emphasis on detailed information provided in the section 'Author contributions'. An updated version of the manuscript with an extended discussion and/or new data submitted to BEC for Open Peer Review before being published.
  3. External comments can be submitted to BEC, and after evaluation by BEC editors, posted on the BEC website of the resource publication. This evaluation distinguishes the discussion of a Living Communication from non-reviewed feedback to preprints (such as reading multiple times (bioRxiv): We hope you're all staying safe and healthy during these crazy times. We've been productive by uploading another manuscript…). Authors may integrate these corrections and additions into a new version of the Living Communication — possibly with added coauthors —, which upon submission to BEC will be subject to Open Peer Review. The reviewers of the updated version are not necessarily identical to the reviewers of the resource publication.

Advantages

  • At a time of the reproducibility crisis combined with the inflation crisis of exponentially increasing numbers of scientific publications flooding us per day, it makes a lot of sense to reduce the sheer numbers of publications by updating, complementing and extending a Living Communication — to address the "value-impact crisis in the struggle to forge scientific innovation into knowledge and community benefits" (Gnaiger 2019). Time and money are wasted when publishing new follow-up papers — with significant duplication of introductions, methods, discussion and references. Updated versions of a Living Communication are sufficient for the time-limited reader.
  1. A Protocol is kept up-to-date: Protocols should be published in the detail necessary to help other scientists to apply it accurately. Such details are subject to change, and an evolutionary series of protocols (with numbered versions) is maintained up-to-date. By reference to the version of a published protocol, ambiguities as to the methodological details are eliminated.
  2. A Review article does not age: Annual updates of a reviewed topic are published, generating an evolutionary series of reviews with numbered editions (versions); all versions archived.
  3. Like cell division, article division of a Living Communication may make sense, if it grows to the extent that the new version should be divided into separate articles, staying connected in a Topic Series (See BEC formats.). Then two updated Living Communications refer to the same resource article.
  4. A Hypothesis communication evolves potentially into a full article: There are too many publications, but there are not enough innovative publications. Many novel hypotheses remain unpublished for many reasons, some of which may be removed by the evolutionary concept of a publication. Published in the format of a 'hypothesis', later experiments by the same group may add substance to the concept to the extent of elevating an 'obscure' hypothesis format to the level of a full article. When restricted to conventional formats of publication, some hypotheses may never be published: scientists may be afraid that this publication will lower the chance for a later high-level publication, or dont want to share their best ideas.
  5. A Preliminary Communication may potentially meet the same quality criteria as a full publication. High-quality Preliminary Communication should be encouraged, with the aim to evolve further by clearly marked steps. The advantages of quickly disseminated preprints are then combined with the benefits of peer review: from pre-print to re-print.

What is special about Preliminary Communications?

Even Newton's theory of gravity represents a preliminary communication to explain the world. Science is a sequence of preliminary communications (pre-liminary = before threshold). Successful scientists who do not recognize their publications as preliminary are effective inhibitors of further progress and innovation. So what is special about the concept of Preliminary Communications?
  1. The effort to complete a publication at the end of a (PhD or Postdoc) project comes as a shock to many early career investigators, sometimes even driving them away from science. The evolutionary approach of Preliminary Communications as a component of Living Communications guides them through a successful step-by-step learning curve.
  2. A Preliminary Communication undergoes peer review and exposes the investigator to critical assessment before completion of a project (particularly PhD projects). The further course of a project may benefit from the BEC publication process with Open Peer Review. This not only justifies reasonable publication charges, but may turn out as one of the best investments to support the progress of a project.
  3. A Preliminary Communication increases the opportunity to discuss results and concepts with colleagues, thus potentially improving the quality of further studies in completing a project.
  4. Preliminary Communications are recognized as peer-reviewed (preliminary) publications, and may as such replace bureaucratic project reports.
  5. A Preliminary Communication may finally turn out as the only publication obtained from a particular project — not intentionally, but in case of unforseen discontinuation, rotation of staff, or any other impracticabilities.
  6. Follow-up projects extend not only Preliminary Communications; updated versions replacing unnecessary new publications is a general concept of Living Communications.

DOI and BEC files names

  • For the DOI "doi:10.26124/bec:2020-0001.v1", the BEC file name shows
  1. the year of publication of the version - BEC2020,
  2. the unique publication number in the annual series - BEC2020.1,
  3. the added DOI shows the year of the original publication - BEC2020.1_doi10.26124bec2020,
  4. the unique DOI number within the year of original publication - BEC2020.1_doi10.26124bec2020-0001,
  5. the version number - BEC2020.1_doi10.26124bec2020-0001.v1.
  • New versions: If a new version is published in a different year, the current year and the year of version 1 are shown in the file name, for example: BEC2021.24_doi10.26124bec2020-0001.v2
  • Divided versions: Assume BEC2021.24_doi10.26124bec2020-0001.v2 is updated and split into two new versions.
  1. The version with the originally first part: BEC2022.7_doi10.26124bec2020-0001.v3
  2. The version with the originally second part: BEC2022.8_doi10.26124bec2020-0001.v4


Discussion

  • 2020-04-30: The concept of Living Communication is great for allowing published works to remain dynamic. - Zulfiya Orynbayeva
  • 2020-04-24: I think the concept of a shorter perspective linked to a longer “living publication” (Living Communication) that would be updated to remain current/state-of-the-art is an excellent one. - Paul M Coen
  • 2020-04-23: There may be a way to integrate your previous preprint server concept with the BEC so the MitoFit Preprint and BEC ‘talk’ to each other (and/or integrate BEC with other preprint servers as I believe PLosOne does)? - The idea of a ‘living’ publication (Living Communication) is a really interesting concept. You may need to think of how older versions will be archived and the newest version will be identified? Would you also allow this for other articles (including original research)? I guess the traditional academic model would be to publish a newer/updated review after sufficient time had passed? - I like the idea of having a (shortened) perspective that accompanies the much longer, and more detailed, “Living Communications". In this way, the published perspective will in some ways provide a “taste” and direct readers to the "Living Communication". - David J Bishop
  • 2020-04-23: For me it is also fine that my comments will be added in the "living" publication. - Francesca Giampieri
  • 2020-04-22: The notion of a "living publication" (Editor: "living Communication") seems most applicable to this work (Editor: MitoEAGLE position paper 'States and rates') as it involves recommendations, guidelines, and references to the ever-evolving field of mitochondrial bioenergetics. This would remove the difficulties and/or concerns of individuals referring or citing older and/or outdated works, like what can happen in the US with physical activity guidelines or consensus statements. - Christopher L Axelrod
  • 2020-04-22: I am happy with the strategic decisions .. having a ‘living paper’ in BEC that covers all the work on the concepts. - Nicoleta Moisoi
  • 2020-04-22: I guess I would eventually need to figure out the full 'living' paper concept. I imagine it has something to do with continuous public peer review. - Lisa Chakrabarti

References

  1. Gnaiger E (2019) Editorial: A vision on preprints for mitochondrial physiology and bioenergetics. MitoFit Preprint Arch doi:10.26124/mitofit:190002.v2.


MitoPedia topics: Gentle Science, BEC