Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research, Wellcome, and Michael Markie, Publisher, F1000 Platforms, provide an overview of the type of research that has been published since launch of Wellcome Open Research.
On the 22nd August 2017 – some nine months after the platform was first launched – Wellcome Open Research published its 100th article. To mark this milestone, we provide an overview of the type of research that has been published since launch including how it has been used; give an analysis of the datasets underlying these publications; and provide information about the speed of publication and volume of peer review activity. We conclude by looking at how the number of publications on this platform compared with other journals used by Wellcome-funded researchers.
Subject coverage and usage
We have published articles across a wide range of subject areas, including cell biology, neuroscience, genetics and genomics, infectious diseases, public health, social science and humanities. So far, these articles have attracted considerable attention and to-date the most viewed article – with over 3600 views and over 270 downloads – is one which discusses a piece of software (SeqPlots) used for visualizing genomic data.
These usage metrics are further enriched by Altmetric data – showing use at social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Mendeley – and now that some of the articles are a little older, they are starting to attract citations in the wider scientific literature.
The published research covers a range of article types, from the expected traditional research article through to data notes, research notes, software tools and study protocols – important work that is more difficult to get published through other journals. The breakdown by publication type is shown below.
Data underpinning the published results
When publishing on the Wellcome Open Research we mandate that source data underlying the results, together with details of any software used to process the results, is made publicly available. Making the data and information about the software code available enables readers and users to reanalyze, replicate and reuse the data from each article.
We have now analysed the data and software availability statements in the articles we have published and determined that that there are 65 open datasets in public repositories (such as FigShare and the Open Science Framework), 40 datasets available in established, field-specific repositories (such as the ENA, Genbank, NCBI GEO and PRIDE), and 17 cases of software source code being made permanently available in Zenodo.
Peer review reports
One of the most innovative features of the platform is the fact that peer review happens post publication.
There are more than 250 open peer review reports published on Wellcome Open Research articles, which have been collectively viewed more than 4000 times. Reviews are accompanied by the reviewers’ names and are individually citable as each review receives a DOI.
On many occasions, we have also seen the research community take up our co-reviewing option, to ensure the credit is given to everyone who was involved in providing their expertise to help improve an article through reviewing. We are also seeing more and more reviewers choose to add their reports to their ORCID profile so they can demonstrate they have reviewed for the platform.
Speed of publication
On submission, articles are subject to a pre-publication check which ensures the work adheres to our ethical and editorial policies, and that data availability is completed and that the data is made available in an appropriate repository etc. At this point, articles are published and the median time from final submission to publication is around 7 days.
Once published, the median time to getting the first peer review report is just under two weeks, getting a second review is 24 days, and time from publication to being indexed in PubMed is 31 days. That’s quick and, even though the number of submissions is continuing to rise, these numbers are holding steady.
Figure 2: Median times to receive peer review reports and be indexed in PubMed
Uptake compared with other journals
Looking at ten of the most popular journals used by Wellcome researchers – as identified through analysis of Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) and CrossRef data – we can see that Wellcome Open Research is, by volume of publications, the fourth most popular title.
When looking exclusively at articles indexed by PubMed – and remembering that articles are published on this platform ahead of peer review and thus are only eligible for PubMed indexing when an article has passed peer review – we see that Wellcome Open Research is the 5th most popular title for Wellcome authors, by volume. See Table 1, below.
All in all, we have exceeded our early expectations and the interest in publishing on the platform is greater than ever. Indeed, August 2017 has been our busiest month since launch, publishing some 17 articles.
We received good feedback from the authors of our first survey and we’ve implemented exciting new features such as the ability for Wellcome centres and institutes to create their own Gateways; expect to see much more development in this area in the coming months.
 Note: in cases where the data cannot be shared for ethical and security considerations, or data protection issues we require the author to provide all the necessary information required for a reader or referee to apply for access to the data and the conditions under which access will be granted. See here for more info.